The St. Louis Cardinals haven’t been super busy this offseason but have improved through multiple trades. How has that changed their 2020 team salary?
Since the beginning of the offseason, the St. Louis Cardinals have maintained they want to stay around the $157M payroll they had last season. This would probably be thrown out if the team has a legitimate opportunity to get a transformative player like Nolan Arenado or Mookie Betts, but without one of them, their aim is to keep things similar.
With Marcell Ozuna gone, the Cardinals entered the offseason with about $152M on the books which didn’t leave them with very much room at all in the budget to make improvements to the team.
However, that hasn’t stopped John Mozeliak and Michael Girsch from doing things.
It may feel like they haven’t done much, but the two moves they have made will benefit the team for 2020 and beyond. With these moves, Mo has also been extremely creative with the salary cap.
Kim’s deal was for two years and is worth $8M. Jose Martinez was making around $2.125M and Arozarena was at league minimum.
So with some simple math, you can see that the payroll is currently sitting at just over $154M, more specifically, $154.4M. Now, tax threshold payroll with all the 40-man and minor league salaries push the payroll up to just barely under $181M which is nowhere near the feared luxury tax marker.
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So with an easy trade and a signing, the Cardinals are now better set up for 2020 than they were in 2019 (for the most part). There are issues when thinking about the cleanup spot in the lineup and who will fill that role, but in clearing out Arozarena and Martinez, the outfield got better.
Both players may go to Tampa Bay and be great hitters, but the improvement is there for the Cardinals in that the glut and difficulty of making sure all of these players who need to be at the MLB level getting playing time.
The “cream rises to the top,” but what if there isn’t room?
This trade lets the best players get the time they need to prove whether or not they are the real deal while at the same time adding a potentially huge impact player from the left side of the mound. In all, Mo has cleared space to play as well as built for the future while providing rotation security.
The best part of Mo’s moves this offseason is that he has kept (to this point) the team’s payroll under where it was last year while still finding ways to pivot and improve. There is still room to make a move for Marcell Ozuna if he’s still out there as well as another bullpen arm, but if not, the team is set up well in terms of payroll in 2020 and Mo has done a fantastic job at working under the restrictions that the DeWitts made, not him.