The most likely outcome is trade
This is where it’s been a fun week of dreaming. Ever since David Schoenfield predicted what a Mookie Betts to the Cardinals trade would look like, dreams of grandeur seem to have sprouted in every fans’ mind. I can’t say that I am not in this boat too as I wrote about the feasibility of that deal that Schoenfield predicted.
While I would be super surprised to see that deal happen (regardless of how tantalizing it is), there are still plenty of options that the Cardinals could explore to be creative with their self-imposed salary cap of around $160M.
It all starts with cutting salary, something most teams want to do these days. For the NL Central rival Brewers, their answer to cut salary was to just non-tender or trade more than half their roster. With literally half of their roster churned over, they now have less than $60M committed in payroll for 2020 and that affords them the flexibility to go after some big names this offseason.
The Cardinals and their current $152M payroll do not have anywhere near that luxury.
Any deal that the Cardinals make in the next five days will be about money as much as it is about making the team better. Does that sound off to you? The good thing is that there are plenty of ways where both of those facets can be satisfied and fans won’t have to riot.
John Mozeliak is just going to have to get creative. He’s done it in the past, he’ll do it again.