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cardinals 2009 roster matrix

thanks ev’ybody for the gold watch and all the kind words and well wishes; i am truly touched. transition procedures are underway, and we should have things settled by next week.

i promised to work up a roster matrix for today, so here it is w/out further ado:



molina c
miles ut
wainwright rhp
perez rhp
pujols 1b
duncan lf
lohse rhp
franklin rhp
kennedy 2b
barton of
pineiro rhp
motte rhp
glaus 3b
mather of
wellemeyer rhp
mcclellan rhp
- - -
ryan ut
carpenter rhp
kinney rhp
schumaker lf
rasmus of
boggs rhp
thompson rhp
ankiel cf
anderson c
todd rhp
jimenez rhp
ludwick rf
freese 3b
mortensen rhp
worrell rhp

the numbers are a lot more guesstimate-y than usual this year, because the cards have 3 arbitration-eligible players who are coming off very good years ---- ludwick, wellemeyer, and ankiel. all 3 are difficult to price, because their paths to success were so strange; it’s hard to find players to compare them to. wellemeyer and ankiel are both in their 3d year of eligibility, which is usually a pretty high-priced year, but since neither had ever established himself before 2008 their baselines are low; you can’t price them the way you’d price a typical 3d-year arb-eligible. my guesses aren’t very scientific, but they’ll have to serve for now.

i’ve given those 3 guys an aggregate salary bump of $4.5m. molina and wainwright both get $2m salary increases next year, and carp’s salary goes up by $3.5m; kennedy gets a nominal bump but glaus’s salary comes down by a couple million. the net effect on the payroll is about $10m worth of built-in salary increases, partially offsetting the roughly $35m that comes off the books (izzy, mulder, looper, encarnacion, spiezio, springer, flores, and miles).

we can anticipate a few more alterations to this grid. kennedy will be gone, but most (if not all) of the salary will probably remain on the cards’ debit sheet. i expect felipe lopez to be re-signed, probably for about $3m. there’s a reasonable chance they will sign izzy to a low-base, high-incentives deal. they will sign a big-league backup catcher; anderson isn’t ready, and it wouldn’t do him or the organization any good to rush him. miles? he may finally have played himself off the team --- after hitting .317 there might be a decent offer or two out there for him, and if it takes multiple years to keep him i don’t think the cards would commit. [my mistake --- miles is still a year away from free agency; he only hit the market last year because the club non-tendered him, and i wouldn't expect that to happen again.] at least one outfielder will almost surely be traded. and at least two left-handed pitchers will be acquired --- you might have noticed that there is not a single lhp listed on this chart.

if we set aside $10m for the anticipated acquisitions (lopez, izzy, backup catcher, LOOGYs), that leaves about $12m for a shortstop. anybody think they can get rafael furcal at that price? i wouldn’t think so, but with creative salary structuring they could probably make it work. don’t forget, glaus’s salary departs after 2009 and a league-minimum player will probably take over, so the club will be able to accommodate a $15m shortstop more comfortably from 2010 forward. i’ve heard that furcal and the dodgers have mutual interest in an extension, so the question may be moot . . . .

this matrix is only a starting point, but it’s a much better starting point than where we found ourselves at this time last year. in its current state, this payroll has a more rational allocaton of dollars than we’re accustomed to. last year’s bullpen cost $16 million, and the bench tallied nearly $6m (not counting encarnacion’s salary); both units are now composed mainly of cost-controlled homegrown players --- as they should be. while there are obvious holes, there also is a lot of flexibility in this matrix --- various options for taking in here, letting out there. it’ll be very interesting to see how it unfolds.