Here's an interesting STLToday piece on the Cardinals' approximate $90MM payroll ceiling for 2006. Here's Dewitt from the article:
DeWitt says calls for a $100 million payroll are misguided and overlook the franchise's increased commitment to becoming more self-sufficient.I think this is an interesting point. Jacking up the Major League payroll now may bring some instant gratification and short-term success, but putting that same money (or even a fraction of it) in player development could bring about returns exponentially larger than initial investments.
"It's not just what you spend on the major-league payroll," DeWitt said. "In the last year we've purchased a Double-A franchise (in Springfield, Mo.), paid more than double for early-round draft picks and opened an academy in the Dominican Republic. We've made a much greater investment in international scouting and player development. Perhaps those things aren't as apparent as major-league payroll, but they're there and they have tremendous significance."