The St. Louis Cardinals endured a miserable 2023 season. St. Louis finished 20 games under .500 and last in the National League Central. Cardinals head coach Oli Marmol understands that improvement is necessary in 2024.

“(Last year) was a difficult year and you learn a lot about yourself,” Marmol said, via Katie Woo of The Athletic. “It tested my character. It really did. It makes you sit back and really think through what went well, what didn’t and what I would do different. The reality is, I needed to be better. Last year wasn’t good enough. And our staff needs to be better. But that starts with me.”

The Cardinals are a historic organization. They have been fairly consistent for the most part over the years. Even in seasons where St. Louis doesn't have the best roster, they have typically found ways to compete.

That certainly was not the case in 2023.

Still, there is reason for optimism heading into 2024. Superstars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are set to anchor the lineup and corner infield positions once again. Arenado wants to take a step forward as a leader in 2024 as well, something he recently explained to Woo during an 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.

Will the Cardinals return to the playoffs in 2024?

St. Louis' offense wasn't bad in 2024. The pitching was the team's downfall, however.

The Cardinals have addressed the rotation this offseason by adding Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn. St. Louis is also hopeful that Miles Mikolas can rebound following his difficult 2023 campaign.

Pitchers such as Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery remain available in free agency. Perhaps the Cardinals will consider signing another arm or two.

In all reality, the team features enough offensive capability to compete in 2024. The performance of the pitching staff will ultimately determine how the Cardinals fare.