1. The club's overall performance...and the performance of division rivals
It goes without saying, but the Cardinals' record over their next month of baseball will play a major role in how they approach the trade deadline. Outside of two series with the Marlins and one with the Diamondbacks, the club plays a lot of struggling teams, including the Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, and Chicago Cubs.
St. Louis has the opportunity right in front of them to put together a solid month of baseball to show signs of life for this season. The problem is, they also now have to rely on other team's in their division letting them back into the race.
The Cardinals are currently 9.5 games back of the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers, both of whom have been playing great baseball as of late. If they continue to do so the rest of the month, it may not even matter how well the Cardinals play.
Even so, a great month of baseball from the Cardinals will help the club see how its core can evolve for 2024. They need to identify which pieces they need to build around for next season, and who is expendable. Even if they get back into contention this month, I still expect the club to identify talent that they can let go of.