The Cardinals front office is preparing for some austerity in the 2020-21 offseason, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak indicated to reporters including Mark Saxon of The Athletic (Twitter link). Details remain unclear, but Mozeliak left no doubt that payroll will decline.
The St. Louis organization already passed on a chance to retain second baseman Kolten Wong at a $12.5MM salary. That decision would’ve been a close in “normal” times, but came as little surprise in the current environment.
It seems fair to presume we’ll see wallet tightening around the game, but Mozeliak suggests the Cards may be uniquely impacted. COVID-19 closures have battered revenue in 2020 and left ample uncertainty for the ensuing season.
“Obviously, the success of the Cardinals the last 20 years has been our gate revenue. I do think we might be more negatively affected than others.”
It’ll certainly be interesting to see where the mainstay organization ultimately sets its payroll. In recent seasons, the Cardinals had carried Opening Day payrolls in the $160MM range.
The club is presently committed for just under $100MM in salary for 2021, with fairly minimal anticipated arbitration payouts to be added. It’s possible there’ll still be a fair bit of financial flexibility to work with, but a major paring of payroll would likely take the Cards out of the market for premium free agents.