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St. Louis Cardinals have tons of payroll flexibility this off-season

The St. Louis Cardinals have plenty of payroll flexibility to fill in whatever holes they deem worthy of their attention in preparation for the 2015 baseball season.

The Redbirds had a payroll of $111 million last year, a figure that team owners have already said they can -- and will -- increase dramatically in the coming years. With a handful of players in the early stages of the arbitration process, St. Louis has committed $84.825 to salaries already for 2015.

After those arbitration cases settle out, the Cardinals should still be well short of $100 million in payroll. Especially if they punt on a couple of those players including Peter Bourjos and Daniel Descalso. If they chose to stretch the budget to a very reasonable $130 million, that's plenty of room to add a top free agent, if they chose, or a couple of impact starting players.

The 2015 totals include a raise from $1.29 million to $3.75 million for Matt Carpenter and a hike from $7.875 million to $9.375 to Jaime Garcia. But Garcia's contract will come off the books after next season and other contracts were front-loaded to further give flexibility in the future.

Yadier Molina makes $15.2 million in 2015 but that drops to $14.2 million for 2016 and 2017. Jhonny Peralta makes $15 million in 2015 but that drops to $12.5 in 2016 and $10 million in 2017.

 The bottom line is, yes, if the Cardinals were able to swing a major trade for a superstar like Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton or if they chose to pursue a major free agent like Detroit Tigers ace Max Scherzer, the cash is definitely in the piggy bank. 

I'm not saying they will make one of those moves or even that they should. But I am saying that money will not be the reason the Redbirds don't.