The Cardinals recently finished up their worst season since 1990, going 71-91 and finishing in last place in the NL Central. Many of the Cardinals' issues had to do with their pitching staff.
The pitching for the 2023 Cardinals was quite bad. So bad in fact that it masked other areas where the club needs to improve, such as the offense.
Yes, you read that right. The Cardinals offense is a potential area for improvement in 2024. If you don't believe me, allow me a chance to change your mind.
So often this year, the Cardinals were failed by their pitching. However, the offense appeared to be the one saving grace from this disaster of a season. There were games where the Cardinals scored plenty of runs, only to be failed by their pitching.
A perfect example of this was the game on July 5th against the Marlins, when the Cardinals battled back from a 5-0 deficit and even took a 9-8 lead in the ninth inning on a clutch home run from Jordan Walker.
However, Jordan Hicks made a throwing error that allowed two Marlins runs to score, giving the Cardinals one of their toughest losses of the year. Sure, you could blame the defense for that one, and it's fair to do so, as the defense was a problem. But it was Hicks who ultimately made that errant throw.
On June 2, the Cardinals blew a 5-0 lead against the Pirates and lost. They did the same against the White Sox on July 7. These types of games made it seem like the offense was never an issue. However, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Fans may forget that the Cardinals lost 26 one-run games this year. Several of these games had nothing to do with the pitching staff, but more so with the fact that the offense couldn't produce in key spots.
While yes, the Cardinals have good offensive players, making the offense less of an issue than the pitching staff, that doesn't mean that the offense isn't a problem.
The Cardinals were 13th in all of baseball with a .250 team average and 19th in runs scored with a total of 719. St. Louis was also tied for 13th in OPS with a .742 mark, 12th in home runs with 209, 14th in slugging percentage, and 11th in OBP.
The stars in the lineup, including Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Willson Contreras, Jordan Walker, Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, and Nolan Gorman make it look like this was one of the best lineups in all of baseball. On paper, it can be considered as such.
But games aren't won on paper. Goldschmidt and Arenado failed to replicate their 2022 success, and to make matters worse, both of them are aging. Arenado will be turning 32 next season, while Goldschmidt will reach 37. Goldschmidt will also be in the final year of his contract.
So, believe it or not, the offense is in fact an issue for the Cardinals. We know that they'll be addressing the pitching, but it wouldn't hurt to address the offense as well.
The Cardinals more than likely won't sign Shohei Ohtani, Cody Bellinger, or other star position players. John Mozeliak already stated that the focus will be pitching. But the offensive struggles the Cards endured cannot simply be swept under the rug.