#4 - The outfield's regression
Outside of a breakout season from Lars Nootbaar, the Cardinals outfield that held so much promise coming into 2022 left the team with tons of question marks entering 2023.
Tyler O'Neill struggled with injuries that limited him to just 96 games, and after finishing top 10 in MVP voting in 2021, finished the season slashing .228/.308/.392 with 14 HR and 58 RBI for the Cardinals. Like DeJong, O'Neill is making major changes this off-season, but his changes are geared toward preventing injuries so he can stay on the field and find his groove again.
Dylan Carlson took a step back after his promising rookie campaign. Although he showed that he can play really good defense in center field for St. Louis, his bat became unplayable at times, especially against right-handed pitching. He put up a .695 OPS in 128 games for St. Louis, but it sounds like he was battling some injuries that hampered him during the year. Carlson still holds a ton of promise, but like O'Neill, there are now legitimate questions about his future.
Harrison Bader was traded to the New York Yankees for Jordan Montgomery, so the Cardinals starting outfield on Opening Day is now either off of the team or have question marks surrounding them for 2023. Not the kind of season the Cardinals were expecting from their dynamic trio last season.