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