Myth - The Cardinals say they'll make big moves but don't follow through.
Reality - The Cardinals never promised to go after big-name free agents in recent years, their problem was the fact they didn't even want to engage with them.
In some ways, this is a continuation of the first myth, but there is a reason I feel a need to dig deeper into this one.
In recent years, people have gotten upset at the Cardinals for "saying" they'll go after big-name talent on the market like one of the top-end shortstops, ace-level pitchers, or whoever else fans wanted them to sign. Here's the problem, they've never actually said they'll do any of that. If anything, they mostly temper the expectations of fans. When Mozeliak said payroll would go up, we read into that as them spending big, and although that was at the very least a poor choice of words by Mozeliak, it was not a promise to go after the big names that people wanted.
So when people say "Oh well we've heard the front office and ownership say this before" about spending, it's just not true. The types of reporting we are getting about the Cardinals' willingness to spend, and the public comments that Bill DeWitt III has made above climbing the payroll rankings, are not typical comments or reports you hear from this organization.
Actions will speak louder than words for sure, but typically when the Cardinals front office says they'll do something, they usually follow through. Just look at last season. While they threw out a couple of moves they'd look to explore, their number one target was clearly catcher, and they went out and spent on the top guy on the market. Right now, they are preaching the need for pitching, pitching, and more pitching, so I'll be shocked if they do not make significant moves in this area. If they do fail to deliver, and they do not climb the payroll rankings, then they deserve all of the criticism coming their way.