2. Shohei Ohtani
I'm sure that fans won't want to hear this. Not that there was ever going to be a chance the Cardinals would sign Ohtani, but he is yet another free agent not worth getting into a bidding war over.
Obviously, he can't pitch due to Tommy John surgery, which will hurt his market quite a bit. He actually could help out the offense, given that he'll likely still be able to hit.
But even so, the Cardinals have far too many hitters on their roster and not enough pitchers. I know Ohtani is also a pitcher, but he wouldn't be able to pitch until at least 2025. Besides, the Cardinals already have Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Lars Nootbaar, Willson Contreras, Jordan Walker, Nolan Gorman, Tommy Edman, and Brendan Donovan, which makes for a pretty deep lineup.
The offense wasn't great this year, but there just isn't a spot for Ohtani on the current roster. I do believe that Gorman, Donovan, Nootbaar, Walker, and even Masyn Winn are going to take steps forward in 2024.
To me, it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to get into a bidding war for Ohtani, especially when there isn't really a fit for him and he's unable to pitch. Plus, this is his second Tommy John surgery.
Should the Cardinals trade one of their young bats for a pitcher however, then it might make sense to inquire about him to fill the role of designated hitter and then have him ready to pitch again by 2025.