1. The Dodgers were ordered to cut spending to comply with MLB rules Dodgers ordered to cut spending
2. Their spending helped them stay in contention while they built a top tier farm system which will allow them to sustain playoffs appearances on an annual basis
3. They had a plan and followed it
The Cardinals seem to operate under a similar plan as the Dodgers. The difference of course is that the Dodgers have a much more lucrative media market, and ownership seems to be more financially diverse as well.
Plus free agents most likely would choose LA over St. Louis, all other things being comparable.
However, California has lost a lot of it’s luster in recent years. High taxes and the negative consequences of dense populations makes Southern California less attractive than it once was. But then whenever I look at those lists of “best places to live”, neither Southern California nor the St. Louis area rank high. In fact, St. Louis comes in dead last in some of those rankings. Sad to see as I have always loved visiting the area.