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MLB St. Louis Cardinals

5 Reasons for St. Louis Cardinals Fans to Be Thankful Heading into 2014

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St. Louis Cardinals 2014 Outlook

St. Louis Cardinals 2014
Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals ended up falling short in the 2013 World Series, but there is still a lot that the organization and fans can hang their hats on.

In what ended up being one of the best races in baseball, the Cardinals came out on top to win the National League Central Division. They won a Game 4 and Game 5 to win the Divisional Series over the Pittsburgh Pirates and dominated Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

The Cardinals are an organization that always seems to be there time and time again. Just when you think they are in for a down year, they just keep coming back like a pesky fly. There never seems to be any panic on the surface from the organization. There was no panic when Albert Pujols moved on. There was no panic when Chris Carpenter was lost for the season.

The organization is filled with tradition and run well on a day to day basis. Many young stars came into their own throughout the 2013 season including Matt Adams at first base. Difficult decisions will need to be made for this organization to try and make another run in 2014. Carlos Beltran however is a free agent, and might there be cause for concern with David Freese? His 2013 World Series was nothing like the one in 2011 where he was World Series MVP.

But here are a few reasons why Cardinal fans should be thankful in 2014.

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5. Mike Matheny is a Top Tier Manager

St. Louis Cardinals 2014
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

In what has become a bit of a trend to hire rookie managers, Mike Matheny is kind of the blue print for that. In just two seasons, he has reached a League Championship Series, won a division title, and reached a World Series.

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4. Allen Craig will be Healthy Again

St. Louis Cardinals 2014
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Craig was an All-Star in 2013 but toward the end of the season and in the World Series, an injury sidelined him. Craig led all Major Leaguers in 2013 in batting average with runners in scoring position at .454. When healthy, Craig is a top-10 bat in the National League.

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3. Winning the Young Arms Race

St. Louis Cardinals 2014
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals continue to develop and display young pitchers and those young arms are producing at the big league level. With 20-something pitchers such as Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller leading the way, a stability for the Red Birds will be the pitching staff along with ace Adam Wainwright.

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2. Trading for Another Bat

St. Louis Cardinals 2014
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Beltran is currently a free agent and there is question marks surrounding David Freese. Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina are another year older. The Cardinals could use an upgrade at shortstop, second base, and center field. St. Louis has the ability to go out and make a deal. Might they trade one of their young arms to upgrade one of those positions and fill out the batting order?

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1. Michael Wacha is an Ace in the Making

St. Louis Cardinals 2014
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Not only does Michael Wacha have one of the coolest names in baseball but he is another 20-something arm that dominated in the playoffs. Yes, he did struggle in Game 6 of the World Series, but his last five starts prior to that were as impressive as it gets.