Cheap Seats

Stop the speculation

I'm getting really tired about the speculation from the national media regarding the Cardinals ability to sign Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa.

No one has been more (rationally) critical than me over the last two seasons about the Cardinals' recent penny pinching ways. And I have often wondered if the team was committed to sign Holliday to the sort of contract it would take to keep him. But the assertion that the Birds can't afford Holliday is absolutely ridiculous.

ESPN's Buster Olney writes:

Why Holliday could end up a rental

Friday, September 11, 2009 | Feedback | Print Entry

As the summer's trade season played out, rival executives came away from conversations with the Cardinals believing St. Louis wasn't in position to take on much salary. The Cardinals opened the year with a payroll of about $89 million. But as St. Louis played well early, hanging at or near the top of the division, its attendance climbed and turned out to be better than expected. Rather than the 2.8 million that was predicted for the Cardinals, they drew crowds that could, in the end, take them up to 3.4 million in attendance.

The St. Louis ownership seemed to respond, trading for Mark DeRosa and Matt Holliday and expanding the payroll by about $6 million -- St. Louis got payroll relief of about $1.7 million from Oakland in the Holliday trade -- and helping to turn the Cardinals from contenders to what appears, right now, to be the best team in the National League. The Cardinals' midsummer spending spree doesn't mean, however, that the team's ownership is ready to paint outside the usual financial lines. Even if St. Louis wins the World Series, the Cardinals are not apt to pop up with a $120 million payroll next year; it's just not in the club's financial DNA.