St. Louis Cardinals on the Road to Off-Season Disaster

Aaron HooksCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2009

The MLB winter meetings are commencing this week in Indianapolis.

Perhaps the St. Louis Cardinals could pencil in a 15-minute sidebar in economics. Perhaps they could commandeer fellow executives to a session where they instructed them on the finer points on looking like asshats.  

Or maybe they could just ask the Oakland A’s for Brett Wallace back. Pretty, pretty please?

The St. Louis Cardinals are run by Bill DeWitt Jr., but this week his son, Bill Dewitt III decided to do the community a solid and hold court at Webster University on the economics of baseball with a varied group of students, community interest leaders, and sportswriters.

The big takeaway?

The Cardinals have a $100 million payroll and if Matt Holliday or Scott Boras think they’re getting them to budge on that? They’re humping a dry hole.

In fact, they feel that aggressively courting Matt Holliday not only will bring financial ruin to the DeWitts already strained bottom line… GASP… It could mean they won’t have enough money to sign Albert Pujols. Oh, the humanity!

Reports of DeWitt’s younger cousins panhandling outside the auditorium proved to be unfounded.

But still, you’d think that a team with 81+ home games sold to 95 percent capacity and a fan base that’d buy a Cardinal emblazoned turd without batting an eye might have a little better solvency then David Hasselhoff’s daughter.

Alas, this doesn’t appear to be the case:  The Belleville News-Democrat took the time this weekend to shoot down every assertion the Cardinals President made during his prepared remarks. Their conclusion? The Cardinals are being effing cheap .  

Meanwhile the Post Dispatch had a list of theories that may be in play here . Everything from negotiating ploy to complete stupidity. And all of them might be right.

But here’s the bottom line: Once Matt Holliday signs a contract, the Cardinals are going to be exposed.

If he signs with a team that isn’t the Cardinals, then we have to seriously take a look at the front office and ask just what in the hell are they doing over there?

They HAD to know when they traded their best prospect for Holliday that he was a free agent and that he wasn’t going to be re-signed cheap.

They also knew that Albert Pujols’ deal would expire after 2011. Neither of these facts were unknown in June 2009. Still, they made the deal.

They had every opportunity to say that this trade was a one-off shot to win it all in 2009. And frankly, St. Louis would have been fine with that. But they made it a point to say that Holliday coming back was a priority for the team.

Okay. Great. Love to hear it.

Now, months later, the Cardinals are claiming poverty and blaming Pujols for it. Such a sweet way to treat a player you’re selling season ticket packages with his namesake.

On the other hand, if they end up with Holliday at a reduced rate, then more power to them. We’re the idiots and all this pissing and moaning about the negotiations leaves egg on our faces.

Regardless, the end of the road is coming on this situation and it sounds like the Cardinals are laying the groundwork for one of the more disastrous off-seasons in recent memory. (Remember the Mark McGwire press fiasco is still on-going.)

And it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.

And by interesting, I mean abortion-like.