As a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan, I promised myself I wouldn't pass judgement until the off-season moves were over and spring training was about to begin. That moment is now and I have asked myself the question if the Cardinals have done enough to return to winning in 2024 and the answer is a complicated yes and no with a healthy dose of "we'll see".

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First of all, I am absolutely thrilled that the St. Louis Cardinals did what they said they were going to do and went out and got some pitching. Signing All-Star Sonny Gray to a 3-year, $75 million dollar contract was a GREAT move. In addition, he's a very Adam Wainwright-like personality that will be a leader. Hoorah. Well done, birds.

I also like that the Cardinals brought Lance Lynn back. He's the type of intense and competitive force that I felt like our clubhouse lacked in the disastrous 2023 season.

I think Kyle Gibson might be the best dark horse signing of the off-season. He's a Mizzou grad who has developed some very tricky new pitches that I believe will help him win more games in 2024 than many expect.

Finally, getting Kenyan Middleton a couple weeks ago should shore up the middle/late relief help the bullpen needs. Andrew Kittredge being brought in from Tampa Bay could also be key if he's back to full strength post-injury recovery.

The Cardinals got lots of needed pitching, so what's the problem?

I love Matt Carpenter as a person and a leader and believe he might have a little pop left in the bat, but I fear that will limit at-bats for Alec Burleson. This is something that makes sense as a bench coach, but could be a problem for playing time if I'm understanding what the Cardinals are doing right.

I think my biggest concern is the age of the players that Cardinals brought onto the team. Think about this. What if one or more of the more than 30 year old pitchers develop arm issues? I fear the Cardinals have left themselves little room for error for the 2024 team.

Let's end this outlook optimistic though. I expect breakout seasons from Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn and Nolan Gorman. I also would be shocked if Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado don't have big comeback seasons.

Oh, and Yadi Molina being a presence on the team again is beyond awesome.

All of the parts are in place for the St. Louis Cardinals to return to the top of the National League Central and into the playoffs. I just hope none of the older 'wheels' come off on the road there.

Inside Yadier Molina's St. Louis Mansion

Gallery Credit: Gina Bundy with GLADYS MANION, INC,

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