Blog Entry

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:21 pm
 
File this under the Life Goes On Dept.:

The St. Louis Cardinals lost three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols ... and still may enter 2012 as NL Central favorites.

Yes, you read that right.

That's what two years and $26 million -- oh, and a full no-trade clause -- to free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran does for the Redbirds. No guarantees of course, because his knees have more mileage on them than Don Rickles. But if Beltran, at 34, can produce as he did as an All-Star last summer, look out.

Defending division champion Milwaukee is on the brink of losing Prince Fielder, and the Brewers could be without NL MVP Ryan Braun for the first third of 2012 if his suspension for a testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug is upheld. The Reds are coming off of a highly disappointing season and have young starters surrounded by lots of questions (Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Travis Wood, Mike Leake). The Cubs have miles to go. The Pirates fell off in the second half last season. Houston? Please.

In St. Louis, this isn't about the Beltran of 2006, when he played in 140 games and blasted 41 homers and collected 116 RBIs. That Beltran but a memory -- just as is the image of him standing there frozen at home plate, gawking at Adam Wainwright's knee-bending, Game 7 curve for strike three that sent the Cardinals, and not Beltran's Mets, to the World Series.

No, this is about how today's Beltran fits in with, yep, Wainwright and the rest of the post-Pujols Cardinals.

Wainwright should be sufficiently recovered from Tommy John ligament transfer surgery to start the season in the rotation. Add him to Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Kyle Lohse and that's a winning rotation. Always, you start with pitching.

Beltran alone would not solve St. Louis' issues, pre- or post-Pujols. But with Matt Holliday (left field) and Lance Berkman (first base) in place, and with promising outfielders Jon Jay (center field) and Allen Craig (right field), now you've got something. Beltran fits well into that rotation. Veteran Rafael Furcal back at shortstop, World Series hero David Freese at third base ... mm-hmmm, the Cardinals will miss Pujols, but they're still versatile and potent.

With all that, first-year manager Mike Matheny shouldn't need to ride Beltran into the ground. But with Craig probably set to open the season on the disabled list following November knee surgery, Beltran can plug into right field early, stabilize the outfield and add depth and power to the lineup.

When Craig returns, Matheny surely will have no problem finding enough at-bats for Beltran in center and right field.

If he's got his legs under him, his bat is still there: His .525 slugging percentage in 2011 for the Mets and Giants ranked eighth among NL outfielders. Overall, he batted .300 with 22 homers and 84 RBI in 142 games.

You can argue that St. Louis overpaid for a guy who turns 35 in late April. But Colorado gave Michael Cuddyer $31.5 million over three years. It's a lot of money, but it's also a short-term commitment for St. Louis.

In that short-term, especially when measured against the rest of the NL Central right now, it looks like smart money. Yes, Pujols is gone. But that doesn't necessarily mean turn out the lights in St. Louis.
Comments

Since: Feb 23, 2009
Posted on: December 23, 2011 10:33 pm
 

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

carlos beltran will hit .290, with 28 homers 25 sb, and drive in over 100 rbi and it will all happen when the cards need it least.  this guy could be the biggest ME guy around now. as far as 13mil a year what do expect when the yanks pay nick i need another redbull shwisher 10 mil



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 5:20 pm
 

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

 Pitching gets tougher and deeper in September when the games matter the most.
Interesting comment for two reasons.  1) No facts to back it up.  There's that perception thing again.  2) San Francisco's scoring went up considerably in September this year.  Even the Mets and Cardinals scoring went up slightly in September.  I didn't bother to check any of the other teams, but three out of three indicate your perception just might be flawed.

BTW, do you ever feel like an idiot lobbing unprovoked insults only to find out you were just illiterate?  Is it too much to act like an adult?



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 4:40 pm
 

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran


Sorry for the error. That's 100% on me.
That's ok.  I've seen enough of your posts over the years to ignore most of what's in them.



Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2011 2:36 pm
 

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

Oh and the Mets led the NL East in RS with 718. In fact, they were 5th in all of the NL.  It's amazing how real facts, trump false perception, isn't it? Too funny.

Re-read the post and I see you were talking about SF. My fault there. However, you are still wrong on Beltran. The Mets couldn't wait to unload him and got a top prospect for him.

Sorry for the error. That's 100% on me.



Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2011 2:32 pm
 

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

Oh and the Mets led the NL East in RS with 718. In fact, they were 5th in all of the NL.  It's amazing how real facts, trump false perception, isn't it? Too funny.



Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

  And he was doing fine in that area on the Mets - he only lagged when he went to the worst offensive team in the league
Once again, you show your ignorance of the sport. The Mets actually had the 2nd best OBP% in the NL and were the best offensive team in the NL East. When you actually get a clue, then maybe you'll be taken seriously. The Mets hit .264 as a team in 2011. Too funny. Do you ever watch baseball outside of your team?

Funny how perception is so often wrong
What's funny is how many times you are wrong. It's scary.

Otherwise, he was on target for 95-100 RBI last year.
If he plays 130 games. With a 2 year guaranteed deal with a no-trade, he won't. Beltran plays for himself. Prorating numbers is totally ridiculous. Pitching gets tougher and deeper in September when the games matter the most.



Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2011 2:07 pm
 

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

In that short-term, especially when measured against the rest of the NL Central right now, it looks like smart money. Yes, Pujols is gone. But that doesn't necessarily mean turn out the lights in St. Louis
The Cardinals may still be a threat in the NL and with 2 wild-card teams, a definite playoff contender, but they are not the favorites to repeat in the NL. Their run last year was magical. They've lost their best player(and the best player in MLB) and their legendary manager. True they'll get back their ace in Wainwright and have depth offensively, but losing those 2 will be tough to overcome in one year. A rookie manager taking over a World Champion is a tough go. Replacing the greatest offensive force in the last decade is impossible. Their losses will be deeply felt. Denying that is delusional.

Also let's not forget, they finished second. The Brewers will lose Fielder and Braun for 50 games(most likely), but added Ramirez and have a terrific rotation and pen. They're the division favorite. They are because of their pitching and their depth on offense.

Finally, Beltran is nothing close to what he was. He also is a soft player. SF traded their top pitchig prospect for this 2 month rental and went from 5 games up to 6 down in a month plus. Beltran did nothing the first 2 weeks, got hurt, then missed his typical 15-20 games. When he returned, he did little until they were 5 back and virtually eliminated. Then he made his free-agent push offensive revival. So typical. Beltran is a selfish, oft-injured, unclutch, fading, former star. 2 years @ 26 million isn't a lot financially. However, the consistent injuries, his indifference and his inability to give of himself to help the team by playing through pain will make his stay there an unsuccessful one. In virtually every way, he's the antithesis  of Pujols and what the Cardinals represent.

Cardinal fans will soon realize what Royals, Astros, Mets and Giants fans know all to well. Beltran is a talented, soft, indifferent, moody and vastly overrated player who is not a winner. They would have been far better adding Cuddyer. Now, he's a Cardinal player.



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:41 pm
 

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

Now Beltran will go back to being Beltran, he'll hit in the .260 range, with 20-25 HR and 70-80 RBI.
Funny how perception is so often wrong.  Beltran's had one injury-plagued season in the .260 range in his career.  One year doesn't make that "Beltran being Beltran".  He's garnered MVP votes in 6 seasons.  .260/20/75 guys don't do that.  In his career he's had exactly one season under 100 RBI when he played close to a full year.  2009 and 2010 were partial seasons that made people doubt whether he would ever play again, and it'd be stupid not to consider that.  "Beltran being Beltran" is .280+/25/100.  You might not want to pay $13M for that, but that's an entirely different player than the one you made up.

Admittedly, he's aging, but that didn't show much last year, only lagging in the RBI category.  And he was doing fine in that area on the Mets - he only lagged when he went to the worst offensive team in the league and there weren't any baserunners to knock in.  Otherwise, he was on target for 95-100 RBI last year.



Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

I think they overpaid a little, but got a piece that fits what they need. They'll have a nice outfield rotation now. Beltran won't have to play every day, to help keep him fresh. He basically replaces Berkman's bat in the outfield, with Berkman replacing Albert at 1st. Cardinals should have some more team speed as well.



Since: Dec 7, 2008
Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:48 pm
 

A nice piece but a lot of oldsters

For the money you got to take Beltran. Compared to what Pujols got, it is a steal. He could get close to AP in output if he's healthy. Then there's no lock that AP is healthy either. But looking at the age of that lineup you got to prepare for some to spend lengthy time on the DL. That means you need to add quality depth. Good luck with that.


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