Blog Entry

What if ... the Cardinals let Pujols walk?

Posted on: November 11, 2011 10:43 am
 
By Matt Snyder

Let's not go crazy about the headline before realizing it's still a longshot that Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols signs elsewhere. Personally, I'd be shocked if he signed with anyone else. Most of the major markets are unable to come through with a huge bid. The Cubs might be able to, but we don't know if the new brain trust wants to take that path immediately (my guess is they don't). The Marlins are meeting with Pujols Friday, but could they afford him? It's doubtful they could come close to paying what St. Louis could. Can the allure of taking his talents to South Beach trump the loyalty, familiarity and dollars of St. Louis? Tough call, but only Pujols could answer that.

Still, let's just imagine a scenario where the Cardinals looked at the price tag internally and thought it best to outwardly appear as if they've done everything they could -- to appease the fans -- but still let Pujols walk via free agency. Obviously losing the best player in baseball would hurt the Cardinals, but I don't think it would be a death blow.

Let's check out what could be done with the money available, should Pujols sign elsewhere.

First of all, Jose Reyes could be signed to play shortstop. The leadoff spot was a bigger problem for the Cardinals than the middle of the order in 2011 (since-retired manager Tony La Russa had to use Ryan Theriot at leadoff in Game 7 of the World Series). Throw money at Reyes and the problem is solved. Plus, with Theriot, Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso, there's plenty of infield depth to play with when Reyes serves a few stints on the DL. Jimmy Rollins could be a fall-back option. Next, Mark Buehrle could be signed. Remember, he grew up a Cardinals fan and has expressed interest in pitching for St. Louis in the past.

That means the Cardinals best lineup would be something like this:

1. Jose Reyes (or Rollins), SS
2. Allen Craig, RF
3. Matt Holliday, LF
4. Lance Berkman, 1B
5. David Freese, 3B
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Jon Jay, CF
8. Punto/Theriot/Schumaker/Descalso, 2B

The starting rotation now includes a fully recovered Adam Wainwright, so it looks like this:

1. Adam Wainwright
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Mark Buehrle
4. Jaime Garcia
5. Kyle Lohse

Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn and top prospect Shelby Miller are available in case of injury. And the bullpen is largely the same as it was toward the end of last season, with Jason Motte now getting a full season as closer.

I tell you what, that's a pretty damn good team. Sure, there are questions, like how are Freese and Craig going to hit over the course of a 162-game season as regulars? In moving Berkman to first and starting Craig, the bench loses a valuable bat, too. Age has to be a concern with Berkman and Carpenter. And of course, how does everyone respond without La Russa? Overall, though, there isn't much to dislike about that hypothetical team.

Considering what Pujols' salary might do to the ballclub if he's making $25 million or more eight years from now -- he'll turn 32 in January -- maybe it wouldn't be so bad for St. Louis if he did leave. It's certainly worth considering (again, internally, as to not alienate Pujols himself or any of the fans). I'd at least talk about it, and I'm guessing the front office has done so as well.

To reiterate, I don't think Pujols is going anywhere, but we're smack-dab in the time of the year that hypotheticals are the most fun.

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Comments

Since: Jun 18, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 3:30 pm
 

What if ... the Cardinals let Pujols walk?

Well said Clev,I go to a few Mets game a YEAR,I would never pay to go see the Mets Play,I get ticketsto take some clients to games,and one of the BEST things I like to go see is Pujols Hit batting practice.I actually got a Home run ball he hit.And i also
saw him break the scoreboard at the old SHEA STADIUM





This speaks straight to the draw of Albert.  He brings fans in visitors' stadiums.  I would ask who individually draws more people to a game than Albert?  There have been some good points made about the comparisons, but I don't think you're ready to put Braun and Kemp in the same conversation with Albert if you're talking about a career.  Maybe in 2011, but one year makes not a great player.  A decade, though, certainly does. 



Since: Jan 13, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2011 3:28 pm
 

What if ... the Cardinals let Pujols walk?

I know the Cardinals just won the world series, but come on - they really had no business being there.  If it weren't for a monumental collapse by the Braves, and an unbelievable run by a fairly average Cardinal team, it would have never happened.  
Their lineup was laughable at some points in the season.  Craig, Freese, Jay, these guys are potentially up and coming, but aren't proven bigtime MLB players.  It was barely a top 5 NL lineup WITH Pujols!  Their starting pitching was ok, but the bullpen was iffy.

Now that they have won the world series and some of these names are more "household" names, it may be tough to sell this, but the point is, WITHOUT Pujols, they're nothing special.  They would have to use the money saved by not signing AP to strengthen this lineup anyway, so why not bring back the best player of this generation?  

I'm not a Cardinal fan, and I would love to see him leave just to hear the collective groan of Cardinal nation, but it would unbelievable ignorant of Cardinal ownership to allow him to leave.  Pay the man what he is asking for, and move on.  He is worth it. 


brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 3:27 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Jan 13, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2011 3:27 pm
 

What if ... the Cardinals let Pujols walk?

I know the Cardinals just won the world series, but come on - they really had no business being there.  If it weren't for a monumental collapse by the Braves, and an unbelievable run by a fairly average Cardinal team, it would have never happened.  
Their lineup was laughable at some points in the season.  Craig, Freese, Jay, these guys are potentially up and coming, but aren't proven bigtime MLB players.  It was barely a top 5 NL lineup WITH Pujols!  Their starting pitching was ok, but bullpen depth was iffy at best.

Now that they have won the world series and some of these names are more "household" names, it may be tough to sell this, but the point is, WITHOUT Pujols, they're nothing special.  They would have to use the money saved by not signing AP to strengthen this lineup anyway, so why not bring back the best player of this generation?  

I'm not a Cardinal fan, and I would love to see him leave just to hear the collective groan of Cardinal nation, but it would unbelievable ignorant of Cardinal ownership to allow him to leave.  Pay the man what he is asking for, and move on.  He is worth it.


brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 3:15 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: November 11, 2011 3:12 pm
 

What if ... the Cardinals let Pujols walk?

First of all you cant really compare Musial to Pujols.  One point being different era's they played in.  Two different kinds of stadiums.  Three the number of games played a year. Four I believe Musial fought in WWII.  Five trainers and doctors are more readily available to players these days with a better knowledge about the problems players are having.  So they are able to be fixed or assessed quicker than back in the days when players played no matter what their injuries were.  Their are more I could add but my thoughts are dont say Musial isnt as good as Pujols.  I'd say Musial did more for STL than Pujols!!!!!!!!!



Since: Oct 25, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 2:43 pm
 

What if ... the Cardinals let Pujols walk?

Albert has been great for the Cardinals.  He will never surpass the classy Musial.  One is call THE MAN and the other, well it is not an attractive name, pronounced pooh holes.  So go with the thanks of St. Louis and Cardinal nation.  I am afraid you will find in too hot in TEXAS during the long summer but gettng a new team and a new chance sounds like it might be just the thing you need.  And Yes, the Cardinals can divide a lot of millions up and satisfy a greater number of good to  very good players.
He already has surpassed Musial inevery aspect.And Idiot he is not called poh holes.And yeah it is winterlike in ST LOUIS in the summer.

And do you have any clue how to speak ENGLISH.Musial is CALLED the man not CALL.And what does "YOU WILL FIND IN TOO HOT
even mean?????

Without La Russa and Pujols the Cards will not get close to the WS.

Wow... that was like two semi-trucks of 'stupid' in a head on collision.  lmao!


brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 2:35 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 25, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 2:35 pm
 

What if ... the Cardinals let Pujols walk?

If Pujols walks, it will take the Cardinals about 5-8 years to recover!  They do not have anyone close to being as good as Pujols is for that lineup!  Pujols is going to be considered the greatest right handed hitter of this generation if not ever, Bonds being the best lefty...ever, yes I said it.  If he goes anywhere else it is highly doubtful he plays for the Cubs (like Jeter going to the Sox), Miami is not a good fit for him, darkhorse is the Brewers in my opinion.  The Cards will lock him up for the next 5 years at close the 30 mil per.  He will take a "hometown" discount cause lets face it...does he really look 31 years old? I would give him 35 at the very least.



brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 2:31 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator



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