The St. Louis Cardinals have “money to spend,” Bill DeWitt says, with the team in active talks with multiple free-agent starting pitchers.
With Matt Carpenter and Carlos Martinez’s contracts off the books, the St. Louis Cardinals saved upwards of $30 million on their 2022 payroll. But most, if not all of that money, will be used to cover Nolan Arenado’s salary.
So how much money do the Cardinals have to pursue upgrades in the rotation and bullpen? It turns out the answer is quite a bit, as Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Our payroll was up there (this year) and we currently have some money to spend in terms of what we’re looking at (for next) year. We’ll see what’s available and see what it can do for our club. We’ll be opportunistic if the right opportunity is there. Some players may want to sign early, and others might wait to see what develops.”
The timing of DeWitt’s comments is interesting, considering that Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said that the team is in “active” discussions with multiple free-agent starting pitchers. There were no names listed, but Max Scherzer still feels incredibly unlikely since he’s looking for a record-setting contract.
Perhaps Marcus Stroman can fit into their budget? Alex Wood and Alex Cobb will surely fit. Steven Matz, who will sign a lucrative multi-year deal, should fit too.
This could impact who the Cardinals target to upgrade their bullpen. They want another leverage reliever, so perhaps Craig Kimbrel becomes an option in a trade with the Chicago White Sox? Raisel Iglesias is unlikely, since signing him will be expensive (a multi-year deal worth around $18-19 million per year) and result in the loss of a premium draft pick. The thought of signing one of Wood, Matz or Cobb, along with an impact reliever, is intriguing — and something that the front office may consider doing with payroll available.
It does not, however, increase the chances of Trevor Story or any of the premium free-agent shortstops from ending up in St. Louis. Such a scenario is unlikely as the Cardinals appear focused on upgrading their pitching talent and depth.
But there will be upgrades, and DeWitt’s comments seem to suggest they could be impactful additions. And with the Cardinals in active talks with multiple players, we could soon find out who he is referencing.