The St. Louis Cardinals endured a miserable 2023 season. For the most part, St. Louis has been a consistent contender over the years, but 2023 was an outlier to say the least. Not only did the Cardinals miss the playoffs, they finished last in the second worst division (NL Central) in MLB. Nolan Arenado understands that St. Louis needs to bounce back in 2024.

“We have to take a huge step. I don’t think it’s OK to have another bad year,” Arenado said during a recent interview with Katie Woo of The Athletic. “When you think of the Cardinals, you think of extended greatness and constantly winning. We don’t have time to not be good again. I don’t think the fans expect that.

“We, as individuals, don’t expect that. There is no other expectation other than we need to go win. But that hasn’t changed. I think people think it has changed because of the year we had last year, but the expectations stay the same. It’s just a matter of us taking that leap forward.”

Nolan Arenado looking to lead Cardinals in 2024

The Cardinals' frustrations were loud in 2023. The team dealt with drama in addition to underperformance. Arenado, though, was selected to his third consecutive All-Star game.

The star third baseman slashed .266/.315/.459/.774. He added 26 home runs and 93 RBI across 144 games. It was not his best campaign by any means, but an Arenado down season would be a dream performance for many other players.

Arenado is a great player. He is also looking to take a step forward in 2024 as a leader, something he told Woo during the interview.

“One thing I want to share is that I’m doing everything I can to prepare to be a better player for this organization and also lead better,” Arenado said.

The Cardinals have made moves to bolster their pitching, such as adding Sonny Gray, this offseason. St. Louis' offense posted respectable results in 2023, but the starting pitching let them down. If the pitching can hold up its end of the bargain, then the Cardinals will find ways to win on a more consistent basis in 2024.