The Cardinals need to conduct an organizational audit like the Yankees

Teams like the Yankees, Mets, and Padres are doing massive evaluations internally. Will the Cardinals follow through with theirs?

Aaron Judge Press Conference
Aaron Judge Press Conference / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

"Each passing day brings the Yankees closer not just to the end of this forgettable season, but to the organization’s full audit ordered by Hal Steinbrenner. The drama is about to get real."

That's what Bob Klapisch wrote on September 27th regarding the state of the New York Yankees. It's been reported that owner Hal Steinbrenner is doing a full-scale audit of his organization, and that "massive" changes are coming to the ways the Yankees operate.

Sounds a lot like what the St. Louis Cardinals need to be doing right now.

While we've heard a lot from John Mozeliak regarding the internal evaluation he believes needs to happen, we have not heard much from the DeWitt family, who are ultimately the most important players in this scenario. It's the DeWitts who have to give final approval to any major changes, whether that is to personnel, philosophy, or especially the budget, and it's also on them to hold the front office accountable.

Actions will speak louder than words, but so far, Mozeliak seems to be saying the right things when it comes to what needs to happen this offseason. He's been vocal about where they fell short this year, and how they need to make changes to how they run the operation in order to fix their woes. I actually have confidence that the front office wants to change, I'm just not sure the ownership group will be willing to do so.

I'm not advocating for Mozeliak to lose his job or the front office to experience a major overhaul. There may be some changes that need to be made in that regard, but overall, I think the front office has the right people to right the ship. It does not sound like the Yankees' audit will result in Brian Cashman or Aaron Boone losing their jobs, but it may force them to surround themselves with new voices or embrace new team-building strategies.

The Cardinals front office needs that kind of push, but it really needs ownership to be willing to push the envelope some more. Payroll is a hard number to nail down with the team's not being very clear about their books, but it appears the Cardinals rank 17th in payroll in 2023, their lowest ranking by far since Spotrac started tracking payrolls in 2011. The last time they ranked inside the top 10 in payroll was during the 2019 season when it was 6th in all of baseball at $174 million, $20 million higher than it was this year.

Maybe Mozeliak is just really weird about spending money, but considering he's offered David Price and Jason Heyward mega-deals and agreed to trade for Giancarlo Stanton's $300+ million contract, I would say he's open to bigger deals. But if the DeWitts aren't willing to open up the pocketbooks, it gets difficult to fit in more salaries with the likes of Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Willson Contreras already on the books.


I know payroll isn't the only source of their issues, plenty of teams compete with less money than the Cardinals spend. But considering the kind of revenue the Cardinals pull in, ownership should have this team within the top-10 payrolls on a consistent basis. Mozeliak and the front office can do a better job spending that money, but there is no reason why their payroll shouldn't be pushing $200 million in 2024 (the Braves rank 10th in baseball with a $206 million payroll).

Only time will tell. For now, all eyes are on the DeWitt family.