DeWitt Says Cardinals Payroll Won’t Be an Issue…The Challenge Is Finding What They Need

The Cardinals are home early for the second straight year and many fans are upset to say the least and debating ways the club can become better this winter.

A common gripe among Cardinal Nation is that the club doesn’t spend enough money and they’ve become too complacent during the offseason or when the trade deadline rolls around. And like most things today, whichever side you fall on you can rest assured you have someone to argue with on the other.

The Cardinals’ payroll is a topic that comes up often from 101ESPN listeners and readers, most of which no doubt have lots of passion for their hometown baseball team. The topic also came up in Bernie Miklasz’s recent chat with team owner and chairman, Bill DeWitt Jr., who pointed to the recent acquisitions and re-signings the club has made.

“Well, we’ve spent a bunch of money over the last couple years. Fowler’s on a big contract…Leake signed a big contract. We renewed Yadi for three years for three years on a big contract,” DeWitt said. “And our payroll pretty well tracks where we are in revenue in MLB and has (done so), really, most of my tenure.”

“I don’t think payroll is a limiting factor for us. I think it’s more availability of what we’re looking for,” he added. “Clubs today, they all have analytics groups. Some value them higher than others, but…the star players get signed, which they should, by clubs generally in their (arbitration) years or pre-arb years to longer term contracts. So there’s not a lot of top talent in free agency.”

In other words, the clubs possessing top-tier talent are locking those players down to long-term deals, which means the Cards need a little luck out in the free agency market or a nice trade partner. DeWitt acknowledged the need of a stabilizing hitter more than once during his 101ESPN chat, but likewise the challenges that lie ahead in gaining one.

“When you start talking about acquiring an impact bat, do you want to give two or three top young prospects for someone who’s got a year left on his contract? Or do you want to take a contract that’s really excessively back-loaded and present problems down the road?” DeWitt said.

“Those are the hard questions that you have and we’ll make every effort to improve our club offensively…I don’t think we have a lot to do there to be honest. We’d love to have an impact bat. We’re going to try to get one, but if you go around the lineup…We’re pretty solid at most positions.”

DeWitt also discussed whether he’s bothered by fans’ “no-shows” in September, how much attention he pays to the Cubs’ model and many other topics, which can be heard below:

Stay tuned to 101ESPN for plenty more Cardinals coverage throughout the offseason.

More: Miklasz – Stat Geeks Win! Cardinals Management Is Closing the Door on Old School Thinking

  • James R. Norvell

    Right now, my only concern is that Mozeliak doesn’t make the trades/acquisitions and that those coming to the team will not be playing under Matheny. I am stunned that management was not a part of DeWitt’s statements. He remains in a very deep state of denial. This article makes me lose hope for any kind of improvement for the coming year. Lilliquist had to go, but who hired him in the first place and who put up with his mediocrity in the dugout? Also, he’s only the tip of this iceberg. I won’t rag on players but a lot has to change because there was no magic in the current roster. No zip. The parts just didn’t jell.
    Remember these words, “We’re pretty solid at most positions.” If that doesn’t make you rethink those season tickets, nothing will.

    • James Berry

      I get your gripes and generally agree on them. I have been wondering if players on the FA market look at Matheny and tell their agents to pass on offers. The rumor was that Fowler had reservations about that very thing and they sent Ozzie to soften him up.That’s not very reassuring, i’d say.

      We are solid at some positions. C, 2ND, SS and CF(if Pham is moved there). We are lacking in the BP and rotation, so i think DeWitt is severely wrong on that front.

      • George Belt

        I heard that Ozzie was utilized to reassure Fowler about living in St. Louis. I haven’t lived there in many years but I know ones who do and many have reservations.
        I think for the most part, money talks in free agency as everyone desires long term financial security.

        • James Berry

          With skyrocketing contracts, money absolutely plays a big part. But few want to languish away on a second division team just for money. They all take in to consideration many things. The league they’d be in, the manager, the roster, the minor league system, the FO and owner, geography, fan support, weather and a myriad of other things come in to play.

  • Sam Ballance

    BS !!!
    I’ll believe it when I see it! He’s already making excuses by his statement!

  • Bob Borowik

    Here is a piece of advice to Bill DeWitt… Don’t bother spending a dime to bring in any players until you end your perverse obsession with Mike Matheny. As long as you insist on Mindless Mike being your guy, Cardinal Nation is doomed to mediocrity.. How DeWitt can keep ignoring the fact that the Mindless One has no business being a Major League manager is insane.. #FireMatheny #DeWittisInsane

    • Phillip Mezzapelle

      You bring up a very valid point. During the All-Star break, even Mozeliak was willing to publicly admit that there is something wrong with the Cardinal Culture. While it’s true that most players want to make as much money as possible, those who truely would like to pick up a WS ring or two before they retire, know that the best club house atmosphere is one that is conducive to winning, not one where the very air you breath is adverse to it. Something tells me that in the Cardinals locker room, things are not what they used to be.

  • Mark Lee Arbogast

    It won’t be an issue because they will not use much of it. They will try but miss this offseason and then look to “internal options” by promoting and hyping up Wilson and O’Neil.