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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3. Will they do what is necessary to improve the team at the deadline?

The Cardinals ownership group talked about "climbing the payroll rankings" this offseason. The front office said they did a lot of self-reflection and were motivated to make sure 2023 did not happen again. While the Cardinals did raise their payroll this offseason, it wasn't by much, and even if they were aggressive in making a variety of moves, they certainly were not aggressive in making big moves (outside of Sonny Gray).

The Cardinals have historically been pretty safe at trade deadlines. In recent years, much of that can be attributed to the fact that their biggest "holes" were ones that were cheap to fix. Both in 2021 and in 2022, the Cardinals desperately needed to "stop the bleeding" with the back end of their rotation, and they went out and made smaller moves to get arms that could fill those gaps. Well, the issue got so bad in 2023 that they couldn't even make it to the trade deadline, which is why they'd say they went out and got Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn this offseason.

So, what if their plan works? What if they are contenders when the trade deadline comes around? Frankly, adding another fourth or fifth starter won't move the needle. They already have four of those kinds of guys (Mikolas, Matz, Lynn, and Gibson), not to mention young arms who can backfill that role. What do they need? A second front-line starter.

Well, that's going to cost a lot to acquire. Mostly in prospect capital, but it's fair to say it'll require money as well. Will ownership sign off on taking on significant money for their payroll, or projecting a potential extension to make the prospect capital given up worth it? Will Mozeliak and the front office be willing to make a big swing in the trade market to acquire the kind of pitcher that can truly make a difference?

That's a question that is going to burn in the minds of Cardinals fans if they are competing for a playoff spot come July. The conversation won't matter if they are sellers again, but that's not what the Cardinals are aiming for. So if they expect to be threats this summer, do they also understand what it will take to make a run? Or will they truly settle for a "just get in" mentality?