It's time to catch up with the league's spending
Payroll numbers are a tricky thing to pin down in today's game, but outlets like the St. Louis Post-Dispatch will be must-reads this offseason as their reporting on official numbers comes out.
MLB Trade Rumors has already done some digging on the Cardinals' payroll, and has the Cardinals at $108 million in financial commitments so far for 2024, before paying out arbitration to any of their thirteen eligible candidates.
My guess right now is that they end up adding about $25 million in salary in arbitration to those players, with guys like Tyler O'Neill, Dakota Hudson, Jake Woodford, Dylan Carlson, and Jacob Barnes being non-tender or trade candidates.
That puts St. Louis at about $133 million in payroll commitments before free agency. Having a top-10 payroll in today's game means hitting the $200 million threshold, leaving the Cardinals will about $77 million in cash to use if they intend on getting to that threshold.
That's the big question though, and something that the DeWitt family has to answer. The front office can want to bring in true difference makers to their pitching staff, but that can only happen if ownership is willing to spend the necessary money to do so.
Should they open up the pocketbooks this offseason, the path toward grabbing three starters is very realistic. It'll likely take about $50 million to grab the top two arms they'd want from free agency, leaving them with an additional $27 million and trade capital to address the other rotation spot and bullpen issues.