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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Why the Cardinals should not be favorites

While the Cardinals do at least have a good foundation in place, they're once again banking on a lot to go right if they want to win even the division.

While it's true that the Brewers will likely take a step back, the Cardinals still have work to do in order to be considered a playoff-caliber team. The Cubs and Reds took steps forward and shouldn't be overlooked, though I wouldn't necessarily consider them favorites either.

I've said it before, but the Cardinals need more pitching. I don't think they're adding another starter. The most glaring need as of now is in the bullpen. Even with the addition of Andrew Kittredge, Ryan Helsley and Giovanny Gallegos struggled to stay healthy, and the latter had an uncharacteristically bad season.

Also, most people aren't looking at this roster and thinking that it's a force to be reckoned with, and I say most because John Mozeliak believes he has a World Series contender in place, which couldn't be further from the truth.

To expand on the idea of them banking on a lot to go right, there are plenty of guys who couldn't stay healthy. There's no guarantee that they're going to come back and be star players. There's also a chance for somebody to regress significantly.

While the starting rotation looks a lot better, it's not an elite rotation. Gray could start Game 1 of a postseason series, but the Cardinals don't really have a guy who could start Game 2.

One ace isn't enough for fans to buy back into the Cardinals.