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Albert Pujols’ future in St. Louis: murky at best?

Sep 2, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

Albert Pujols AP

I’m pretty sure I’m going to use that “murky at best” stuff every time I link an article at Grantland.  I’m hoping the fact that I’m friendly with Rany and Jonah and all of those guys will keep them from getting too mad at me for it, but you don’t get to choose your memes and catchphrases. They choose you.

Anyway, provocative stuff from Jonah Keri today in that he asks whether the Cardinals would be better off not signing Albert Pujols after this season.

OK, Cards fans, put the revolver down. Because it’s Jonah, know that it’s not some shock piece. He’s running the numbers and the dollars and pointing out all of the difficult considerations that the Cardinals themselves have before them in light of El Hombre’s impending free agency.

Believe me: they’re going to be doing more than saying “we CAN’T lose Pujols!” and then throw their hands up in helplessness. They’re thinking about this stuff hard and, if you care about Pujols’ and the Cardinals’ future, you should be too.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    King Albert, as I predicted a month ago, will hit over .300 and when the Cardinals catch the Brewers and win the NL Central, he will win the MVP too.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:10 AM

      I certainly hope your right Chris. He is going to have to continue scorching the ball the entire month of September to do so. Unfortunately, I am not so confident it happening. He has been lights out the last couple of Months. How much better can he hit?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:17 AM

        He really only has to hit his career average of around .328 to get to .300 for the year. The harder part if for the Cards to catch the Brewers. It would really take the Brewers going into the tank and the Cards to play out of their minds, but it isn’t impossible. Let’s see how the Brewers do on the road against the Stros this weekend. The Brewers are already 9-3 against Wade’s bunch, but they are still just a .449 team on the road. Anything can happen.

      • kopy - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:35 AM

        Spoken like a true Phillies fan that’s scared of facing the Crew in the playoffs!

      • thefalcon123 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        Chris is right. The Brewers plane might crash….cause that’s the only way the Cardinals are winning the central.

      • CJ - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        Oh yes, last time we faced them in the playoffs it was absolutely terrible.

        I don’t think any Phils fan is afraid of facing any NL team in the postseason. I know I’m not. Of course, that doesn’t mean much, as the Giants didn’t scare me last year either.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:48 PM

        CJ, before Jurrgens and Hanson went down, I feared the Braves. I still fear Timmay and Cain if they get in. Otherwise, I’m not concerned because good pitching shuts down good hitting in the playoffs and the Aces will shut down the Brewers.

        Regarding everyone else, sure it is a long-shot that the Cardinals catch the Brewers. However, a check to the schedule shows that the Brewers play their next 6 on the Road, with 3 in St. Louis. If they get swept again, things could get very interesting.

        As a matter of fact, the Phillies have 4 game series against both the Cards and the Brewers. I’m rooting for the Phillies to go 4-4 in those 8 games :)

        There’s a reason for my rooting for the Cardinals to catch the Brewers…I’ll let you know if they actually catch ‘em.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 2, 2011 at 2:17 PM

        What is the deal with these thumbs down? Was he NOT scorching the ball the entire month? Has he NOT been lights out for the last two months. My guess is…the thumbs downs are from people who are smack talkers…and being a fan of the game itself is completely foreign to them. You do realize you can talk baseball and NOT be selling out your team don’t you?

  2. Jonny 5 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    Well, I wonder how much Dewitt paid him to write that? (TIC) I’m pretty sure he really doesn’t want to have the highest paid in MLB on his roster. I think Albert dabbles in FA after the season simply because ownership is going to have a hard time agreeing on any number I see thrown around.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:17 AM

      From a completely biased stanpoint…I hope your wrong. But I certainly understand your reasoning.

      • Jonny 5 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:22 AM

        Actually, I like him in St louis too, and I’d love to see him stay there. I just hear St Louis isn’t really high on opening the purse strings that far. But, people are always wrong, you know.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      Watch out for the Red Sox…everybody is writing them off, but why wouldn’t they play Pujols at 3rd and move Youk to RF? If they don’t get to the World Series this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a move for him.

      • ippoic - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        If I were Youk and the Red Sox wanted me to move from 3rd to RF, I wouldn’t report. For the immense talent that he is, the Red Sox take him for granted way too much.

        On top of that, I don’t think the Sox are going to want another 6-8 year 150+ million dollar contract.

      • nategearhart - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:31 AM

        I can’t imagine Pujols moving to any other position with that back of his. In five years or less, he’ll be a DH.

      • marshmallowsnake - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:31 AM

        I cannot see this happening…but, if they did. I think they would platoon Adrian and Albert at 1B and DH and Albert and Youk at 3B and DH and let Papi go. But, like I said, it is not happening.

      • APBA Guy - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:46 PM

        Have you seen Youk in the outfield, Chris? “Fish out of water” comes to mind, then “completely uncomfortable”. Maybe he could adjust a little, but his range will be limited, and his fly ball judgement will cost Boston some runs. Plus, he’ll be 33 next year, so making that adjustment will be more physically challenging than if he were 26 or something. Boston doesn’t usually build a defensive hole into their squad. It’s doubtful they’d do so now.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:52 PM

        Just throwing it out there. Nobody knows what is going to happen with Pujols and I keep seeing writers dismissing the Yankees and Red Sox too quickly.

        If Pujols were offered the following which would he accept…

        Yankees/Red Sox 8 years/$240 million but he has to split time DH’ing and at 1B

        Cardinals 7 years/$200 million and he can stay at 1st.

        Which is he choosing? Unless you think a team like the Cubs, Rangers or the Angels is going to match the Red Sox/Yankees, there’s no reason to just dismiss them as out of hand. Too much can happen between now and next spring.

      • bigharold - Sep 2, 2011 at 2:43 PM

        “Watch out for the Red Sox…everybody is writing them off, but why wouldn’t they play Pujols at 3rd and move Youk to RF?”

        Even as a Yankee fan I like Youkillis. He is a great team guy and he played excellent 1B and decent 3B. But, I’ve seen him in the OF and he isn’t that good. He is not a solution for RF. Moving him back to 3B at 32 was a stretch. Moving him to RF at 33 would be worse. Besides, the RS just signed three big FA, (I know AG was a trade but he was like a half a FA and he still just got a huge contract), in the last two years and they’re only getting their money’s worth from from Gonzalez. I don’r see them tossing around the kind of money it would take to sign Pujols to put him in a position he hasn’t played regularly unless they jettison Ortiz.

        I think Pujols and the Cards will come to their collective senses much like the Yankee and Jeter did. The Cards will pay more than they want and Pujols will accept less than he thinks he’s worth in the end and everybody will say all the right things.

        If Pujols does end up in the AL East, .. he’ll be wearing Yankee Pinstripes. They regularly throw around that kind of money. And, they could use the DH, 1B, 3B positions for these guys and still each of them in 150+ games a year. For those that think they won’t I give you exhibit A: Soriano. Didn’t really need him, was really expensive and the GM stated he didn’t want him. Exhibit B would be A-Rod. They got a very expensive SS to play 3B because they already signed their own expensive SS. Resources AND track record.

        I know the rest of baseball and their fans would hate it but it is much more a possibility than Pujols going to the RS. Frankly, as much as I’d like hit bat in the line up I’d like to see him stay in St Louis too, .. like Mauer in Minnesota.

        And, as I’ve said before, .. if he gets as far as free agency there is a chance. And, ..he’ll look good in Pinstripes too.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 2, 2011 at 2:56 PM

        I still think the Jays are a dark horse for him. Clear need, necessary payroll flexibility, and he puts them right on the cusp of competition necessary to justify an overpay.

  3. thefalcon123 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    My hope (and it’s not likely), that seeing the recent results of A-Rod’s contract, the Werth, Wells, Soriano disasters, ect, that teams may have cooled off to giving out monster free agent contracts for an extended period time. While Pujols would get a monster, long contract no matter what, perhaps the vast number of bad contracts sitting on so many teams rosters will bring his numbers down to a more manageable load.

    Who am I kidding? Someone GM will give him at least $250 million and personally administer a daily hot stone massage to get them on their club.

  4. cup0pizza - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Nice, cheap way to try to lure hits to some opinion piece by one of your buddies. No thanks.

    • kopy - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:37 AM

      What’s the difference between this and the articles Craig links to written by people he’s not buddies with? Don’t be an ass.

      • jimbo1949 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:46 AM

        can’t help himself

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:44 AM

      Hey Cup0pizza,

      Can you please provide a list of journalists whose sports writing you approve of? Since Jonah Keri, who wrote (writes?) for Baseball Prospectus and written for such little read rags as the New York Times, ESPN and Sports Illustrated can be described as writing “opinion piece by one of your buddies”.

      I really, really want the Cardinals to keep Pujols even if it means paying out their a**. It doesn’t mean Jonah Keri doesn’t provide a well though out, well written, logical argument for why it may be better that they don’t.

      • cur68 - Sep 2, 2011 at 2:10 PM

        Meh. Typical 0pizza comment. Nothing of value just a big ole cup0vitriol.

        IMO Albert says a Card. He’s TLR’s boy and always has been. Tony will see to it that Phat Al gets paid and the we can all get used to seeing him in that uniform the rest of his natural.

  5. flyinhighwithvick - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Is “murky” your word of the week? The other day the Phillies future was murky, now Pujols’ future is murky in STL. Or are you just a dope? I’ll go with dope.

    • nolanwiffle - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      Do we have to write “subtle humor” on a brick and hit you in the face with it?

      • CJ - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:53 AM

        he may not be able to read it…

        and yes I say that knowing full well based on his handle it’s most likely Philly-on_Philly crime, but seriously get a clue. and try not to give tarnish the pristine rep we Philly fans have on this site :D

      • Mark - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        It would be much better if you held a sign that said “Sarcasm” on it and yell Bazinga.

    • aaronmoreno - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:42 PM

      I like that you clearly read the title, but clearly didn’t bother to read the first paragraph.

      • cur68 - Sep 2, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        To be fair sometimes Craig’s writing can be murky at best. We have to at least consider that, right?

  6. caland13 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    My guess is 7 years, 30 mil per, with an 8th year team option. The money that they make in the milestone t-shirts and posters alone will cover the 10 mil expansion of the payroll.

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:49 PM

      My guess is 6 years, $23 million per year but a clause worked out with the state attorney generals office that allows Albert to choose one felony that will no longer apply to him. He only gets one, but it’s whichever one he wants and he can do it as often as he wants.

      • cur68 - Sep 2, 2011 at 2:16 PM

        Oh man, what a sweet deal you just proposed there falco. That’s better than a super power if you choose right.

  7. okwhitefalcon - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    I really have no idea what’s going to happen with Albert and his pending free agency although I hope he does remain a Cardinal for life.

    That said, no way no how he’s going anywhere to play 3rd (Boston) or DH (Yankees) or a perennial loser (Cubs) at this point in his career – that’s just goofy. Not to say those teams won’t get involved in the courting but the liklihood of him actually signing with one of those teams is somewhere south of slim.

    The Rangers and the Angels seem to be prime candidates if he does leave STL, both flush with cash and nobody in the way at 1B..

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:54 PM

      The Angels seem to like Trumbo a lot and I’m not sure if the Rangers are going to pay that kind of money again, after the whole A-Rod contract.

      • okwhitefalcon - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:29 PM

        Very true on both accounts Chris although I’m not sure if the Angels wouldn’t make a move with Trumbo (either another position or trade bait) if Albert does become an option.

        As for the Rangers, the A-Rod contract just might be enough for them to stay away.

        That said, they have major cash flow these days and could afford him if they choose to pursue.

      • Alex K - Sep 2, 2011 at 5:13 PM

        Eh, it’s a different owner and GM in Texas from when A-Rod got his deal. I don’t know how much that will play into it. I don’t Texas will make an offer, but I think with all the changes and whatnot the A-Rod contract won’t be an issue.

  8. flavius217 - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    As a lifelong Cardinals fan, I’m less concerned with the Pujols situation than I am with getting TLR out of town.

    • okwhitefalcon - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:38 PM

      It’s looking more and more likely that TLR isn’t going anywhere so it may be time to get concerned about retaining Albert.

      I’m indifferent to TLR and/or his potential return, cool with it either way.

  9. lukeslice - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    The Phillies should totally sign him since Ryan Howard sucks!

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:04 PM

      Cruel list of players with a higher OPS than Howard this year who qualify for the batting title:
      Jose Bautista, David Ortiz, Ryan Braun, Joey Votto, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, Adrian Gonzalez, Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko, Prince Fielder, Matt Holliday, Michael Morse, Troy Tulowitzski, Shane Victorino, Albert Pujols, Alex Avila, Justin Upton, Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Stanton, Robinson Cano, Alex Gordon, Jose Reyes, Dustin Pedroia, Corey Hart, Josh Hamilton, Brian McCann, Todd Helton, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Beltran, Michael Young, Kevin Youkilis, Hunter Pence, Nelson Cruz, Seth Smith, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Jhonny Peralta, Carlos Quentin, Andrew McCutchen, Michael Cuddyer, Ben Zobrist, Jay Bruce, Matthew Joyce, Billy Butler, Casey Kotchmen

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:09 PM

      I would do an even crueler list of players who had a higher WAR, but I really don’t really feel like typing out 151 names.

      Yes, Howard ranks 151st in the majors in WAR (baseballreference). And 96% of them make less money than Howard this year.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 2, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        Hahahahaha! Great post.

    • lukeslice - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:20 PM

      so it is confirmed…Ryan Howard…terrible at baseball

      • nolanwiffle - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:32 PM

        I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s terrible….but his future is murky at best.

      • cur68 - Sep 2, 2011 at 2:18 PM

        Well, I’m glad you considered that.

  10. ultimatecardinalwarrior - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    I’m scared of Toronto coming in to gank him. The Blue Jays with Pujols will immediately become contenders in the AL East.

    • lukeslice - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:31 PM

      Though it’d certainly help, this is absolutely false…they still don’t have enough pitching to contend just cuz they have 3 bats (including Lawrie) instead of 2, versus the Yanks/Sox being stacked from top to bottom.

    • okwhitefalcon - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      I don’t think Albert sharing a clubhouse with the Blue Jays centerfileder is an option, that would be almost like the Jays bringing in TLR to manage..

  11. stlouis1baseball - Sep 2, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Dead on!

  12. bbk1000 - Sep 3, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    The Cards should cut ties with Pugols, as the Mets should do with Reyes, but one if not both of the teams will sign them to silly contracts, …let them go….

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