How do the St. Louis Cardinals stack up with Willson Contreras?

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 26: Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs hits a two RBI single during the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 26, 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 26: Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs hits a two RBI single during the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 26, 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 22: Juan Yepez #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals and Nolan Gorman #16 stand at attention for the National Anthem before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 22, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 22: Juan Yepez #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals and Nolan Gorman #16 stand at attention for the National Anthem before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 22, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Cardinals budget and tradeable assets

Coming into the 2023 off-season, it was reported that the club would enter next season with a payroll cap of $180 million-$185 million, and Contreras puts them right up at $180 million at the moment. This likely takes them out of any significant free agent signings for now, unless the Cardinals make a few trades.

Names like Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez, Alec Burleson, and Lars Nootbaar are all young assets on the big league roster who could be dealt to make a significant upgrade to the starting rotation or lineup. Although they clearly cannot sign a front-line stater or significant bat this off-season, these assets on their own roster as well as a flurry of valuable prospects could help them bring in an impact player on a cost controlled deal.

The Cardinals could choose to move off of players like Dakota Hudson ($2.5 million), Paul DeJong ($9 million), Genesis Cabrera ($1.2 million), Jordan Hicks ($1.6 million), or other names that would clear a little bit of money as well. It’s hard to predict at the moment where they will go from here.

One thing to note here is that the $180 million-$185 payroll number is a reported projection, not a firm cap that we know of. The DeWitt’s can always green light a $5 million-$15 million increase, giving Mozeliak flexibility to round out the roster.

I really do not think the Cardinals are done making significant acquisitions. If anything, it seems to indicate that we should have all eyes on the trade market, as any impact moves they want to make will likely be impacted by that.

dark. Next. Cardinals 5 most valuable trade assets

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