This year is as good a time as any for the St. Louis Cardinals to steal the show. If they really put their minds to it, the Cardinals have the potential to make multiple blockbuster moves. This is how Bill DeWitt, John Mozeliak, and the St. Louis Cardinals could theoretically send the baseball world into a frenzy.
The St. Louis Cardinals are in a prime position to add multiple stars this offseason. The team is awash with money, cost-controlled pitching and outfield prospects. Yet, many fans on the Twitterverse continuously debate whether the team can afford to add multiple superstars.
The answer to this question is a decided YES – the team CAN afford it. The real question, and much more dubious proposition, is whether the team will make the moves necessary to acquire multiple superstars. They most certainly should.
The St. Louis Cardinals have approximately $101 million in projected guaranteed money next season. Additionally, the Cardinals will incur approximately $22 million in arbitration salaries. Thus, without any additions or subtractions from the payroll, the Cardinals will have around $125 million in payroll.
Last year, the Cardinals had a payroll of just under $164 million, which translates to the Cardinals having $40 million of payroll flexibility to match last year’s salaries.
Most importantly, the luxury tax threshold in major league baseball increases from $197 million in 2018 to $206 million in 2019. That leaves the St. Louis Cardinals around $80 million before they hit the luxury tax threshold (we are assuming, for the sake of this article, that the Cardinals are not a team that will exceed the luxury tax threshold – even though they have the money to do so).
What about the future payroll? The Cardinals have around $103 million on the books for 2020 (counting club options on Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong and Luke Gregerson totaling $36.5 million) and only about $32 million in guarantees in 2021 (not counting a $12.5 million option year for Kolten Wong).
So as it stands, the St. Louis Cardinals are well positioned to spend into the future and the team has relatively few guaranteed contracts hampering its financial options down the road.
In addition, the Cardinals have incredible organizational depth in right-handed pitching prospects, outfield prospects, and even catching prospects. This team has the depth to acquire just about any superstar it wants to on the trading block, and, it may be time to unload some prospects instead of hoarding them.
It’s time to stop trying to win AAA championships and time to focus on the MLB club.