Cardinals payroll matrix through 2013

by on April 22, 2009 · 2 comments

While searching through my favorite repository for MLB contract information, Cot’s Baseball Contracts, I came across a very valuable tool for Cardinal fans with an eye on the future and how the organization might be able to leverage their payroll.

I was originally headed over to Cot’s to begin to compile a multi-year outlook on the monies the Cardinals have already committed to player salaries in coming seasons, allowing us to reasonably project the team’s flexibility in future off-seasons.

Fortunately, Cot’s has saved me a bunch of work (and you a bunch of errors in my work, most likely!) by putting together such a matrix on a Google spreadsheet.

Items to note:

  • The Cards have a bunch of payroll coming off of the books in 2010, most notably Troy Glaus and Joel Pineiro, neither of which I expect the team to resign.
  • The smaller numbers at the end of the contracts for Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, and Yadier Molina represent the buyout numbers for options in those years.  The options are all club options, and are $16mm, $15mm, and $7mm respectively.  I’d expect Pujols’ and Molina’s options to be exercised, if not renegotiated before that point, and Carpenter’s to be bought out.
  • The Cards have their top three starting pitchers, their catcher, and their best player all locked up through 2011.
  • As has been noted here and other outlets, the Cardinals have well-positioned themselves to hang onto Pujols beyond 2011.  The player development emphasis in the organization should hopefully provide the payroll flexibility to extend Pujols and make him a career Cardinal.
  • I still say Rick Ankiel is as good as gone following this season.  Only question mark remaining is what sort of payday his performance this season will warrant.
  • Question marks after 2009 – Khalil Greene, Todd Wellemeyer, Ryan Franklin.  Our thoughts?  Greene is anyone’s guess, dependent upon his performance and willingness to stay for less than he’s making this season.  Wellemeyer will resign for a small raise.  Franklin will resign for less than his ’09 salary.
  • Ryan Ludwick can earn himself another large raise in arbitration by continuing his hot start in 2009.  Even if Ludwick falls just a bit short of his 2008 season statistics, he’d be due another big raise from this season’s salary.

Interesting to discuss, even more interesting to speculate what the Cards may do with a potential $30mm in payroll “space” in 2010, while still keeping an eye on what they may have to pony up for a Pujols extension.

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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Aaron Smith May 29, 2009

The Cardinals need to commit this payroll space to gettng a left-handed starting pitcher to complement Carpenter, Wainwright, and Lohse. A Ted Lilly type to plug into the No. 4 spot. Put Boggs in the No. 5 spot.

Shore up the bullpen by spending $2-4 million on a left-handed reliever or two.

Use the largest chunk of payroll space to get a stick for the lineup, either in LF or 3B. Someone to drive in 80+ runs and hit 25+ home runs.

Put Chris Duncan either on the bench, or trade him to an AL team to be used as a DH.


2B Skip Schumaker
CF Colby Rasmus
1B Albert Pujols
RF Ryan Ludwick
3B (Free Agent)
LF (Free Agent)
SS Tyler Greene
C Yadier Molina
P Adam Wainwright

PHE May 30, 2009

While I agree with you on the lefty starter, would love for them to get a good one of those, I think that Pujols is going to be their salaried priority.

I don’t envision the Cards laying out a bunch of cash for any free agent until they can put a fixed number to Pujols for the rest of his career.

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