If we apply a 25% playing-time reduction from 2021 on to account for injury risk, Craig’s model spits out a small $4.4M negative surplus, or +$25M with discounting (Ben’s goes to -$20.4 and +$19.5, respectively).
But while their performances on the field were not up to the level of what they were being paid for, I don’t think anybody can credibly claim Holliday or Wainwright hamstrung the team’s finances as they aged.
Last year, the Cardinals paid $49M (34% of opening day payroll) for bad seasons from Holliday, Wainwright, and Jhonny Peralta – and had room to spend more.
The Cardinals having big present dead-ish-money commitments didn’t keep them from offering huge contracts to Jason Heyward or David Price (and it doesn’t appear that running out of budget room was the reason those players weren’t landed).
It’s certainly true that the Cardinals ultimately have limited resources, but as long as those dead-money commitments are reasonably staggered and kept under control, they do not appear to put a drag on the team’s ability to spend.
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