There is a lot to be excited about with the 2014 Cardinals. Defense appears to be much improved with the additions of Bourjos and Wong in the lineup. The stable of young pitchers came into their own at the end of last season and one can only assume an improvement next season on the whole, especially with the return of Jason Motte and Jaime Garcia. But what about the offense?
St. Louis led the league in runs scored last regular season with 783, 77 more than 2nd place Colorado. They also batted a ridiculous 0.330 with runners in scoring position. Assuming that in fact is not a repeatable skill and the Cardinals bat closer to their 0.269 batting average with RISP next year (they batted 0.264 with RISP in 2012), that's over 80 runs lost leaving the 2014 Cardinals to look a lot like, well, the Reds.
The Reds minus the power that is. The 2013 Cardinals were 13th in the NL in home runs. Those 125 HRs were the lowest total since 1995 and Steamer projects next year's squad to have 4 less with the departure of HR leader Beltran. Throw in banner years from Yadi and Marp last year where the downside is much higher than the upside and one begins to wonder if the Cardinal hitting machine may falter next season without the addition of another big bat. Where do you see the 2014 Cardinals finishing if no major additions are made? How will the fans react to more defensive, lower scoring team?