ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Cardinals likely are strapped for payroll with the trade for Mark DeRosa over the weekend.
While I don't dobt this is the spin coming from the offices at Busch Stadium, I don't buy it for a second. Not to beat a dead horse here, but the Cardinals payroll was $10.5 million less than last season at the start of this one, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts figures. De Rosa makes $5.5 million this season, and the Indians have already paid him more than a third of that.
While the Redbirds painted a Chicken Little picture of the future to justify slashing the payroll from $99 million in 2008 to $88.5 million in 2009, the scenario hasn't played out. The Cardinals have already sold more than 3 miillion tickets this season. If they don't hit the 3.4 million from last season, it's going to be pretty darn close. The faithful fans continue to support this team and ther is no justification not to spend consistently with income.
With DeRosa's check in the mix, the Cardinals should have a payroll in the $92 million range, not factoring in the $200,000 plus the team will save on Chris Perez's contract. Matt Holliday, the most prized slugger on the trading block, is owed about $7 million for the rest of the year. If the Cardinals traded for him and assumed all of his remaining pay, it would only put the team back where it was last season when it made a healthy profit without the benefit of the extra revenue the All-Star Game brings in.
And lest we forget, when the Cardinals spent $99 million in 2008, they planed to spend about $110 million but we were told there just weren't any players on the market that worth worth going after...
The Cardinals have the financial resources to go after Holliday. The real questions are how committed are they to winning? And, how serious are their concerns about Brett Wallace's glove at the big league level?