The St. Louis Cardinals are on a mission to flip the script of the 2023 season. Nolan Arenado, Oliver Marmol, and Brendan Donovan have all been outspoken regarding the team's desire to put 2023 in its rearview mirror. A 71-91 season for a franchise that prides itself on continuity can be jarring after all.
Public miscommunications, underperformance, injuries, and a lack of defensive fortitude created a disaster of a season for a franchise that hasn't seen this many losses in over thirty years. There is a palpable desire amongst the Cardinals' faithful and the team itself to turn things around in 2024.
The atmosphere in interviews, at the Winter Warm-Up, and in offseason workouts for individual players is noticeably driven. There is a collective goal for the players, coaching staff, and management: win again. Don't let the 2023 season be the start of a downfall. The roster, particularly the starting rotation, is much improved, the clubhouse vibe is much better, and the focus on defense has returned this offseason. All that's left is to wait for Spring Training to start.
In order to achieve success, whatever that may look like, in 2024, certain key players have to fill very particular roles. Not every player on a baseball team is called to lead a clubhouse, slug 40+ home runs, or pitch shutouts every other start, but some players are called to step up and be more valuable than others.
There are several players on the Cardinals' roster who will have to do a little more than others on the team in order to achieve success in 2024. These players may be tasked with playing multiple positions, being strong role players, leading a rotation, or returning to prior superstar forms. Regardless of the call, these seven players must answer it.