Well Well Well…you knew it was coming. As a St. Louis Cardinals fan, it is my duty to report my feelings about Mr. Pujols and how he left. It is also my duty to discuss how each team will be effected this season and beyond.
As you all know, Albert Pujols, signed a 10 year deal worth 254 million dollars with the Anaheim Angels over the winter. As most Cardinal fans know though, Pujols was gone way before this past winter. He was gone by January of 2010 when the Cardinals gave Matt Holliday a 120 million dollar contract. That made him the highest paid Cardinal at the time, and that soured Pujols who was near the end of his 8 year 111 million dollar contract. Honestly, I can understand Pujols’ frustration at the time. To pay Holliday more than Pujols was absolutely ridiculous. Holliday is a good player, even great some years. However, his defense is very average, and he will never be on the same level as Pujols overall.
So at that time, I could completely understand Al’s issues with management. However, when it became time to resign, the Cardinals were willing to make Pujols the highest paid Cardinal (10 yrs at 210 million) , and to have him make up more than a fifth of their payroll. Let me say that again ONE PLAYER, 1/5 OF THEIR ENTIRE PAYROLL! To just field a baseball team, you need 9 players and that doesn’t include the other starting pitchers, utility players, relief pitchers etc. That is a ton of money. However, this is the point in time where Pujols started to act like a spoiled brat. He wanted to feel respected, he wanted to be the highest paid first baseman in the game, etc etc etc. I am all for people who try to get the most that they can, and thus support their family. However, was 21 mil for 10 years not enough? How about all the winning you have done in St. Louis…was winning two World Championships and being in a third not enough?
What did he want the Cardinals to do at this point?? Especially when who knows how old he really is (sorry that might be wrong to say but the guy is from the Dominican Republic let’s not act like there have not been players with fake birth certificates that have come from there), and this past season showed some decline. This past year was the first year where he did not hit .300 and have 100 rbi’s. He was still great, but was he the best hitter in the game last year? Maybe, maybe not.
Anyways, how will this effect both of these teams moving forward?? I personally believe that the Cardinals are going to be fine. They added Beltran, they have Freese for a full season, and they still have Berkman, Molina Jay, Holliday and Craig in their lineup. Furthermore, they have a good enough rotation to win the NL Central with Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia, Westbrook, Lohse and Lynn (while Carpenter is on the DL). Moving Forward, they will also have some cash flow every year freed up to get whomever they need to. In the near term, I don’t see anyone beating them in the Central, and after that, the Playoffs are a complete crap shoot. Get hot, and you will win the thing.
As far as the Angels, they are not completely handcuffed by the 25 million a year. Obviously they are in a much bigger tv market, and they can inflate their payroll if they need to. However, what happens if Pujols does decline every single year from here on out? Then what? Only time will tell. In the near term though, this team still has questions. Is their lineup better than the Rangers even with Pujols? No not even close. Is their Starting Pitching better? Probably since they have Weaver, Wilson and Santana.
However, if Pujols was concerned with winning at all, he should have stuck with the Cardinals….easier division, more talent. However, I guess after you win so much in 11 years, the only thing that matters is STRAIGHT CASH HOMEY!