I think it would depend on how the fans react, honestly. Bill DeWitt Jr. said something pretty telling in his Winter Warm-Up interview about knowing Cardinals fans were going to be at the ballpark no matter what. He meant it as a compliment to the fans, but it was also a reminder that the team knows its attendance is going to be strong, for the most part, no matter what. We've heard an awful lot about how what the Cardinals spend is tied to how many people can attend games, but we have not heard much about how the product on the field needs to attract fans to games. If that dynamic changes, there could be changes.
The Cardinals' spending has not been a problem. They're consistently in the upper tier of payrolls. If they do cut back this year, and they have suggested they will, then remember a bunch of other teams -- most, really -- are doing similar versions of scaling back during the pandemic. I mean, look at the National League Central. Teams are rushing to offload good players left and right.
Personally, I think what the Cardinals have to change is this notion that they cannot afford a mega contract for an in-his-prime player and still run a successful team around that contract. They have convinced themselves it's mega contract with a superstar player OR sustained success. It doesn't have to be one or the other.
What the Cardinals need to avoid doing in the future is spending good chunks of money on relief pitching -- they can produce better options internally -- and B-level additions who are going to be at or near the same level as younger cost controlled talent from the moment the B-level addition signs, or soon after.