The Cardinals are entering the 2023 season as the presumed favorites to win the NL Central division.
While the Cubs and Brewers may be tough customers, all signs point to the Cardinals having the clearest path to their second straight division title. The offense looks strong with Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Willson Contreras, Tyler O'Neill, Tommy Edman, and Brendan Donovan. The bullpen should also be a strength.
However, when I look at the Cardinals as they currently stand, nothing screams "World Series contender." There are plenty of question marks that are still lingering and may need to be addressed.
For example, the starting rotation is far from a sure thing. With Adam Wainwright's velocity struggles and his recent injury, as well as both Steven Matz and Jack Flaherty returning from injury-plagued seasons, there is a potential cause for concern. The Cardinals had the opportunity to add some starting pitching over the winter but settled for Andrew Suarez on a minor-league deal.
While that isn't a bad deal by any means, better options were available. Obviously, they were never going to pursue the likes of Carlos Rodon, Justin Verlander, and Jacob deGrom, trades were possible and there were several serviceable starters on the free agent market such as Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Wacha, Chris Bassitt, and Noah Syndergaard.
Much to the dismay of fans, the Cardinals passed on all of them.
With that being said, however, the trade deadline will present another opportunity to add some additional pieces.
Here are two areas that the Cardinals may need to address at the deadline.