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.
Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:43 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Oct 24, 2010
Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:17 pm

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

two years of beltran is not a bad stopgap, and may even be a very productive one. always a cards fan over pujols; they'll figure it out GO CARDS

Since: Sep 9, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2011 10:40 am

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

And the front office is still $224,000,000 ahead....

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: December 23, 2011 9:43 am

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

Last year worked perfect for the Cards.  When Albert wasn't producing, Berkman was and vice versa.  Sure, IF Berkman has another year like last, Wainwright is back to himself, Carpenter has his normal year and Beltran (never a fan of his) can give you 25HR and 100 Rbis's then Albert's loss isn't so bad, and the Cards make the playoffs especially if Fielder leaves the Brewers and winds up in Texas (bad move Prince- really hot in August and Sept).  Wouldn't an Angels/Cards WS be fun to watch, especially if the Cards win (nice move Albert).

Since: Nov 4, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 9:38 am

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

NFCEASTFAN and Dogs4401. Beltran had a better OPS (.910 vs .906) and was even with Pujols in WAR (both at 5.4) in 2011. Pujols isn't what he once was. He has declined for three straight seasons with 2011 being his worst.

Since: Nov 4, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 9:28 am

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

WTH does that mean.

Since: Dec 23, 2010
Posted on: December 23, 2011 9:06 am

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran


g-Freese-Molina. 1 through 7 very good Bats..Pitching 1- Wainwright-2- Carpenter-3-Garcia. again very good. Pen 1- Closer Mott and then a mix of lefties and righties....I feel confident that this Team is Playoff bound even without Great Albert

Since: Oct 19, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 9:02 am

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

Hey expert they still are this year. They dont move to 2013.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 8:54 am

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

Beltran joins the team after they win a World Series, he wont win one this way. As gifted as the Cardinals are they wont repeat, is damn near impossible to do so. World Series winner will come from another city this year not St. Louis. Losing possibly the best baseball player in the past 50 years maybe ever has no replacement....

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 8:46 am

Pujols gone, but Cards can win with Beltran

I can't belive you would even write this article! Beltran Really?

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