St. Louis Cardinals Expect Payroll To Rise In Next Few Years

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Cardinals built much of their team on home-grown talent through the MLB draft, and the team’s chairman said the organization will have to increase payroll in the coming years to retain this talent.

The St. Louis Cardinals have long been the envy of many Major League Baseball fans, with a seemingly endless pipeline of young talent, particularly pitching, mostly drafted by the Cardinals themselves. But having awesome young talent eventually turns into simply having awesome talent, and awesome talent costs money. Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt acknowledged this, and said he expects payroll to rise “significantly” in the next three-to-five years as a result.

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“We knew as younger players matured at the major-league level they would get to arbitration and into free agency,” DeWitt said. “We wouldn’t be able to retain them at the current payroll level, so we’re forecasting fairly significant increases in the next three to five years.”

The Cardinals finished the season with a payroll of approximately $115 million, and that included mid-season pickups such as Justin Masterson and John Lackey (Masterson is a free agent, while Lackey will be paid a mere $500,000 in 2015 thanks to a unique contract). Lance Lynn is likely the Cardinal to make the biggest raise, as he’s eligible for arbitration for the first time, and was excellent in 2014 as St. Louis’s number two starter. Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller will soon follow in arbitration, which is why the forecasts are planning ahead for seasons beyond 2015.

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