For every reason there is to be disappointed about the results of the 2023 season for the Cardinals, there are just as many reasons to be optimistic for the 2024 season. This past year was a wake-up call for fans, players, management, and ownership. However, fans still have a reason for hope in 2024. John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt Jr. are in lockstep when it comes to plans for the offseason. A return to the playoffs is expected in 2024.
Paired with management's aspirations for greater things in 2024 is the players' desire to return to the franchise's winning ways. Willson Contreras, Paul Goldschmidt, and Lars Nootbaar have already been outspoken about a desire to win in 2024. The division should be within reach assuming the players are healthy and the management signs pitchers.
Derrick Goold of the Post Dispatch recently published a piece showing the players' frustrations. Willson Contreras stated, "We have to come in next year motivated because we finished this year in last place. That is a bad feeling". Contreras joined the Redbirds due to their storied history and a desire to fill the shoes of a legend in Yadier Molina. His competitive spirit should be a motivator in 2024.
Paul Goldschmidt is a leader on the team. His work ethic and talent are undeniable, and players in the locker room look towards him for encouragement. According to Goold, Goldschmidt states, "We’re preparing to win championships. I don’t think that will ever change with this organization." His confidence and desire to win a championship is an indication of optimism for next season.
Lastly, Lars Nootbaar's disappointment was also evident in some quotes he had at the end of the year. Nootbaar stated that it was tough to watch teams such as Atlanta and Philadelphia celebrate while the Cardinals were left dejected.
"We want guys who are coming in here to be scared to play us. This is all getting me fired up right now, to be honest with you."- Lars Nootbaar
Having a "fired up" Nootbaar should spell danger for opposing teams in 2024. Assuming Contreras, Goldy, Nootbaar, and Oli Marmol follow through on their desire to win, the Cardinals should perform well next year. Let's hope 2024 is the "revenge season" for the Birds on the Bat.