4 Steps the St. Louis Cardinals Must Take to Defend the NL Pennant

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4 Steps the St. Louis Cardinals Must Take to Defend the NL Pennant
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Matt Carpenter returns to the dugout after making the final out of the 2013 World Series.

The St. Louis Cardinals, while obviously disappointed, have a lot to be grateful for even after their 2013 World Series loss to the Boston Red Sox.

There’s no doubt the sting of the loss is still quite painful, but the future is bright for the Cardinals.

With the continued development of a series of key rookies and prospects, this team is built to compete for years to come. This wasn’t their only chance—in fact, it was quite the surprise to most.

While no one doubted the Cardinals would be competitive in 2013, a World Series berth didn’t quite seem like a possibility.

Taking into consideration the sheer number of rookies marched out by the Cardinals combined with injuries to multiple key players, the fact that they won the National League Central Division is quite the accomplishment.

It also bodes well for their future.

While several players will leave due to free agency, the Cardinals’ nucleus of quality starting pitchers and key veterans will remain mostly intact.

The Cardinals are in a prime position to return to the World Series, but for that to happen, a few key steps will have to take place.

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