The case for and against the Cardinals as the NL Central favorites in 2024

Out of everybody in the NL Central, the Cardinals have been the most active, having added three starting pitchers to their rotation. But is it enough to make them favorites to win the NL Central?
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three / David Berding/GettyImages
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The Cardinals were quick to fill the holes in their rotation and even added an ace in Sonny Gray. The other additions were Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson.

We've heard over the past several years about how the NL Central is a weak division and how it should be easy to win. For the most part, that has been the case. The Cardinals won the division in 2022 by seven games over the Brewers. Last year, it was Milwaukee who won the division by nine games over the Cubs.

Out of every team in the Central, the Cardinals have done the most this offseason. By no means are they World Series contenders unless they add another top-level starter or some high-leverage bullpen arms, but they have put themselves in a much better position to succeed in 2024 than they did in 2023. Their quiet offseason last year was the root cause of their 71-91 record, which sent them to last place for the first time since 1990.

But with the Brewers having subtracted a few pieces and looking more likely to trade Corbin Burnes, it's safe to say that the NL Central is once again up for grabs. The Reds and Cubs have been quiet in addition.

In that case, it's fair to ask the question of whether the Cardinals are the favorites to win the NL Central. Have they done enough to be considered the best team in the division, or do they need to do more?

We'll discuss that in this piece and make a case for why the Cardinals should be the favorites, and a case for why they shouldn't.