QUESTION: In their minds, have the Cardinals flexed that "payroll muscle" they once referred to (with Fowler, Leake, Cecil, Holland, extensions, etc.)? Or is that a statement they might take back now?
GOOLD: They can take it back. Doesn't make it any less true. They've spent money on free agents -- and they haven't gotten the return that they want. These are facts entered into evidence. The Cecil and Fowler spending was part of a winter where they spent more on free agents from outside the organization than any other team in baseball. Of course, that was the last market that made sense.
So you could argue that the other teams were ahead of the Cardinals on not spending and that those deals reflect a bygone time that the Cardinals helped prolong.
That said, they still have payroll flexibility. The Cardinals haven't hid from that. It's not the ability to spend. It's the want. And that's true for most teams.