At the time of writing, we are currently 14 days away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting, so I thought that it would be fitting to take a glance at the current iteration of the Cardinals’ roster.  Our 25-man roster is pretty set, barring injury, so I wanted to put together a roster matrix for you all to see; however, I thought it would be neat to take a different, graphical approach to the exercise.

Over at VivaElBirdos, FreeRedbird posted a fairly standard roster matrix (As of Nov 15, 2010, so without Berkman, Theriot, Punto, and Tallet, basically), which denotes player, year, and salary.  Also, over at the ever-useful Cot’s Contracts, they have a Google Spread of the Cardinals’ 2011-2016 roster obligations, which goes a bit more in depth, including major league service time, agents, etc.  I compiled all the relevant information into my own updated roster matrix, which I posted in a link under the graph

Next, I converted all of the salaries into WAR by dividing the 2011 salaries by 4.5 million $/WAR and I got the 2012-2016 salaries by assuming an 8% inflation rate each year.  Therefore, the market rate for $/WAR for 2012 was assumed to be 4.86, 5.5 for 2013, etc.  When the younger players hit arbitration, I used historical comps to guess at an accurate number for them.  Thus, on the left side of each year in the graph, you have “Paid-for WAR” or “WAR on the books”

For the right side of each year in the graph, I took the Fangraphs Fan’s projections for 2011, and inserted them directly into the graph.  Then, I applied somewhat of an arbitrary aging curve on each player, based on a combination of age, logic, and my own intuition.  Playing time was a challenge, so I did my best to objectively determine how much players like Allen Craig and Jon Jay would play in 2016 (about equal amounts, for what it’s worth). Therefore, the right side of each year in the graph is “Projected WAR”

What we end up with, is this (Click to Enlarge):

(If you care, the table for the graph is here.  The formatting is terrible because that’s the only way I could get the bar graph both stacked and clustered like it is)

Notes and Musings:

  • Assuming an all-replacement level team would win 45.5 games, then the Fangraphs fans project us right at around 93 wins.  I’m guessing that that number is slightly optimistic, so I think a range of 87-93 wins for the 2011 Cardinals is about right
  • The Matt Holliday contract looks really good with this system, with the team having surplus value every single year of his contract.  I don’t necessarily think that will hold true, but the contract definitely looks better right now than it did when we signed him.  With 2010 already “in the books,” when determining cost/benefit of the contract as a whole, and seeing the contracts paid out this offseason, I think we did the right thing.
  • It looks like we have about 77 wins on the roster (while paying market value for about 14 wins) for 2012.  If we resign Pujols, that will bump us up to about 84 with 8 spots left on the roster, which I think leaves the Cardinals in good shape, competitively, if they’re willing to bump payroll up a little bit and don’t just replace those 8 spots with replacement-level guys.
  • About half of the projected WAR in 2012 are coming from cost-controlled players, which is exactly the kind of trend that needs to continue if we resign Albert.
  • Wainwright’s contract is awesome.  Lohse’s contract sucks.

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