What do we know about the Cardinals right now?
The most obvious thing Mozeliak and the Cardinals have is faith. The team has a lot of faith in what they have right now.
They believe Tyler O'Neill will return to his 2021 form. O'Neill had an amazing 2021 season. He won a second straight Gold Glove for his work in left field. He hit .286/.352/.560 with 34 home runs, 89 runs scored, and 80 RBIs, as well as 15 stolen bases. O'Neill suffered several injuries that hampered his 2022 season. He his .228/.308/.392. It will be wonderful if O'Neill can recapture his 2021 form. It will be interesting to see if changing his off-season workout routine will help. Working alongside Matt Holliday, who is also big into weightlifting, should help. O'Neill should benefit from Holliday as far as hitting. It will be interesting to see if he improves with the departure of Jeff Albert as hitting coach. While he worked with new assistant hitting coach Brandon Allen in Memphis, it will be interesting to see that work translates to the major league level and how Turner Ward will help.
Having a rejuvenated O'Neill back to his 2021 form will be necessary. With Lars Nootbaar slated as the right fielder, as long as Dylan Carlson is healthy at center field, it will be great to have that consistency in left field with his big bat.
Speaking of being wary of the health of Carlson, it's important to note the front office's faith they will get a big-time performance from Jordan Walker this season. Walker had an incredible 2022 season in the minor leagues and the Arizona Fall League. He's young and talented, and he will be a star when he arrives. This is similar thinking fans had on Carlson and Nolan Gorman, and contributed to a hit in the team's confidence in these two. But Walker is just a different kind of player. Here's hoping he makes a big splash with the Cardinals in 2023.
Despite many impending vacancies and a new pitching coach, the team seems fine with its current rotation. Adam Wainwright will retire after the 2023 season. This is the final year of the current contract for Miles Mikolas. This is the final arbitration season for Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty. Steven Matz is the only rotation member that is signed beyond this season.
With health being a major concern, the team may depend on Andre Pallante, Dakota Hudson, or Matthew Liberatore. It would be great if the Cardinals made a trade for an ace-level pitcher. A left handed one would be great. While getting runs is important, having enough consistently reliable pitching is just as important. Mozeliak must make some moves to improve pitching. Hopefully he doesn't wait much longer to get that fixed.
While he may not say it publicly, it's apparent that Mozeliak still needs to address this in the offseason. He must make some more moves if he hopes to get this team back in a situation where they can make deep playoff runs. With the amount of talent they have, Mozeliak must make some more improvements.