Over the next several days, I would like to take time to assess the 2005 outlook of the Cardinals. Before we can begin breaking down areas that the team needs to address, however, we need to understand what the Cardinals have to work with from a financial standpoint. Almost all of the financial information you will see in this post was taken from DugoutDollars. I also used ESPN salary information.
There are some discrepancies between these sources in some instances, which is to be expected. Reports with specifics on salaries are released, but all of the details are never fully disclosed. That leaves others attempting to fill in the blanks as well as they can. So with those disclaimers, let's take a stab at the 2005 financial situation.
Off the Books
Mike DeJean - $200K
Jeff Fassero - $250K
Sterling Hitchcock - $1M
Tino Martinez - $6.5M
Fernando Vina - $1M
(note - K=1,000, M=1,000,000)
I think most fans knew that the Cardinals were paying Tino $6.5 million this year to not play for the team. I think many, however, would be surprised to learn that the Cardinals were still paying guys like Hitchcock and DeJean this season, even though they were only with the team for 2 months last year. And Fassero? Please.
Heading into 2005, the Cardinals still owe Tino another $1 million. Other than that, though, the Cardinals are in the clear for past debt. A team that had to play $8.95 million to players on other teams in 2004 will only be on the hook for $1 million in 2005, good for a savings of just under $8 million.
Chris Carpenter - $2 M plus $555K incentives
Woody Williams - $8 M
According to DugoutDollars, those are the only two players with options for next year. (Actually, they show Edgar Renteria with a $6.5 million option for 2005. Does this mean their information is bad? Maybe not 100% accurate, but not bad.)
I think both of these are no brainers. $2 million for Carpenter? Yes please. $8 million for Woody? No thanks. I think Williams is very likely to retire, unless he really wants another crack at the World Series, and a chance for his last MLB start to not be his Game 1 disaster. If he comes back, though, it needs to be for a reduced rate.
Carpenter's salary will be a raise of approximately $2 million over 2004. Woody's is harder to gauge. DugoutDollars claims Woody was making $4.75 million in 2004, ESPN says $6.6 million. What's more, DugoutDollars says the Cardinals owe Woody $1.4 million in 2005, along with $500,000 per year from 2006 through 2017. I have a feeling that they are correct, putting the Cardinals saving approximately $3.3 million with the departure of Williams. Net savings from these two players is approximately $1.3 million. Note, of course, that I am making assumptions on both Carpenter and Woody in regard to their options being exercised or not. However, I think they are good estimates.
Jim Edmonds - $8.6M to $9.8M
Jason Isringhausen - $7.25M to $9.25M
Albert Pujols - $7.05M to $11M
Scott Rolen - $6.18M to $9.75M
Reggie Sanders - $2M to $4M
Jeff Suppan - $1M to $4M
Julian Tavarez - $1.6M to $2.6M
Larry Walker - $4.2M to $5M
All eight of those guys were key parts of the 2004 team, including 3 MVP candidates and the winning pitcher for the clinching games in both the NLDS and NLCS. For them to have only combined to make $37.9 million last year is pretty impressive. Next year, they'll be making a combined salary of $55.4 million as the bills come due. This will increase the Cardinal payroll by $17.5 million.
Note that Larry Walker is a bit of an assumption on my part. Reports I found via google claim that the Rockies will pay $7.5 million of the $12.5 million owed to him in 2005, leaving the Cardinals with a $5 million right fielder. However, I cannot find any evidence that the Rockies paid Walker any of his remaining salary in 2004. For that reason, I'm assuming that the Cardinals paid Walker 1/3 of his salary this year, or roughly $4.2 million. If the Rockies actually paid the Cardinals some cash in the 2004 season, then the increase in salary will actually be more than I'm listing.
Marlon Anderson - $600K
Cal Eldred - $900K
Ray King - $1M
Steve Kline - $1.7M
Mike Lincoln - $1M
Mike Matheny - $2.75M
Matt Morris - $12.5M
Edgar Renteria - $7.55M
So Taguchi - $1.2M
Tony Womack - $300K
That's an interesting group of players. King and Kline made the bullpen deep and versatile. Some could argue that the lack of Kline made the NLCS harder than it should have been. Renteria has been the best shortstop in the NL for the past several years, not counting 2004. Matheny is a great bench coach who can't hit. And Morris stunk, plain and simple.
All said and told the above players made $29.5 million in the 2004 season. We will go into the details of which players should and shouldn't be replaced over the coming days. For now, however, all we can do is look at their positions as open, with the money they were making available to spend.
Total Cash Available
"Off the Books" $7.95 million
Options $1.3 million (estimate)
Raises -$17.5 million
Free Agents Departing $29.5 million
Total Cash $21.25 million
That number, of course, assumes that the Cardinals keep the same level of spending as they had in 2004. Most likely, they will kick up their spending ever so slightly. Think $3 to $4 million. Of course, the other thing not factored in is raises to arbitration eligible players such as Jason Marquis, Dan Haren, and Rick Ankiel. For the purposes of my analysis, I am going to assume that arbitration raises and increased spending will cancel each other out.
So, there you have it folks. Using my rude and crude methods, the Cardinals have roughly $21 million to re-sign Edgar Renteria, as well as address any other needs for the 2005 squad. Over the next week I will address what I see as needs, and possible solutions for filling those needs. Additionally, as the Cardinals make roster decisions and as more information becomes available on payroll I will update the financial situation estimates.
Overall, it appears as if the Cardinals are in a great situation heading into next year. They don't have many holes to fill, where some of the holes appear they have prospects ready to step in, and for the positions in which they don't have prospects ready, they have quite a bit of cash. It should be a fun off-season, as the defending NL champions look to take it a step further.