The 6 biggest concerns we have about the Cardinals as the 2024 season begins

We are just days away from the Cardinals' 2024 season beginning, but there are still many concerns that fans and experts have about the club.

Mar 7, 2024; Jupiter, Florida, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) pitches
Mar 7, 2024; Jupiter, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) pitches / Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Is the defense really improved?

One of the biggest surprises from the 2023 season that led to the Cardinals' downfall was the major regression they experienced defensively.

No one should have been surprised that Willson Contreras was a major downgrade from what Yadier Molina provided (well, somehow the Cardinals seemed to be more surprised than anyone else), and his transition to becoming the new backstop for St. Louis was far from a smooth transition. Even though the Cardinals handled the situation about as poorly as they could have, it's still true that Contreras was not good enough behind the plate, and it showed throughout the season.

Most of us were surprised by just how bad Jordan Walker was defensively. Yes, he was changing positions, so no one should have thought he'd be great in right field, but man, he's far too gifted athletically and too smart of a player to be that bad defensively...right? Well, he did get better as the year went on, but overall, it was a mess.

The most surprising development of all though was the defensive woes of the Cardinals' best defenders. During the first half of the season, Nolan Arenado was nowhere near the world-class defender we have come to know him as. Tommy Edman was making mistakes at shortstop and second base. Paul Goldschmidt was not bad, but he was not a Gold Glove-level first baseman anymore either.

Nolan Gorman did make significant strides defensively and was almost league-average at second base. Brendan Donovan should be healthy and able to fill in all over. Edman, when he's back, has proven to be one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball. Masyn Winn is now the full-time shortstop, and it won't be long before Victor Scott II is contributing in St. Louis.

The pieces are there for this defense to improve dramatically in 2024. Will it? That remains to be seen.