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The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the winningest franchises in baseball history, trailing only the New York Yankees in total World Series titles and ranking among the best clubs in every major category. They have continued that success over the last two decades as well, ranking third in wins, third in World Series titles, second in playoff appearances and second in playoff series wins since 2000.

But baseball is changing. Clubs like the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Guardians continue to field legitimate contenders on extremely low payrolls, but haven’t been able to break through the slump and win it all. The teams that dominate the winning landscape today are teams like the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Atlanta Braves, who combine elite player development and big payrolls to create incredible teams.

Now teams like the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and San Diego Padres are showing just how far you can stretch payroll in today’s game. The Phillies already had multiple nine-figure deals on their books with one of the best lineups in baseball, then went out and signed Trey Turner to an 11-year, $300 million contract. The Padres traded for Juan Soto to add to their core offseason of superstars and then added Xander Bogaerts in a mega deal.

Then there’s the Mets, who spent more than $800 million this season on Carlos Correa, Justin Verlander, Brandon Nimmo, Kodai Senga, Edwin Diaz, Mar Narvaez, Jose Quintana and David Robertson. Their payroll for 2023 is not north of $500 million, $192 million more than the second-place Yankees and double the payroll of the third-place Padres.

Then there are the Cardinals, who now rank 16th in baseball in payroll ($178 million) and trail the likes of the Red Sox, Cubs, Rangers, White Sox, Giants and even the Rockies. For a club that has had tremendous success over the years and continues to be one of the most profitable franchises in baseball, it is truly concerning that they are not trying to spend anywhere near the best teams in baseball.


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