I don't get that sense, no. That seems to be back-of-the-napkin calculations from outside the organization and not how the team traditionally looks at the payroll. A year ago, they were talking about cutting payroll and did by letting Kolten Wong go. A few months later, they took on the largest contract in club history. It took creativity not to add salary for the 2021 season -- though they ultimately did some because of the pitching moves they had to make -- but part of that was also shifting the expenses to later years.
When talking about the money coming off the payroll and equating that to the room the Cardinals have to spend, I want to point out to additional things to consider:
-- Arbitration raises are coming, they're due, and a player like O'Neill is going to get a big one.
-- Wainwright and Molina will make twice as much in 2022 as they did in 2021.
-- The Cardinals maintain a rather fluid payroll cap because it is tied to ticket revenue, still. They have a target for ticket sales, and it's not as high as it was say a few years ago, but the broadcast rights fees do climb again for 2022, and that gives them added heft to use, if they see a reason.