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Cardinals may view Jimmy Rollins as fallback target if Albert Pujols doesn’t re-sign

Nov 30, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT

Gary Cederstrom, Jimmy Rollins

As the Cardinals wait for Albert Pujols to make a decision Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that they “could shift their focus to Jimmy Rollins” if the three-time MVP signs elsewhere.

Rollins obviously wouldn’t replace Pujols–in the lineup or at first base–but the Cardinals also have an opening at shortstop and with Rafael Furcal also a free agent their current depth chart has Tyler Greene as the leading in-house option.

General manager John Mozeliak made it pretty clear to Goold that he’s hoping Pujols makes a decision one way or another fairly quickly so the Cardinals can move forward with the rest of their offseason plans, many of which hinge on whether they have Pujols or a whole bunch of money to spend.

Rollins’ status may also be in limbo until Pujols makes his decision, because adding the Cardinals to the bidding mix could change his market dramatically.

  1. phukyouk - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    Sounds like the guy that applies to Harvard as his first choice but Devry as his backup… just in case

    • paperlions - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      Devry? That’s harsh.

      Jamie Carrol = Devry

      Rollins = U Mass (keeping with the MA, theme)

  2. Francisco (FC) - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    Actually the only connection here is financial: locking up Pujols to a new contract severely restricts St. Louis in spending big on any other free agents to adress different needs. A more appropriate comparison is to say that getting a nice 55″ LED screen depends on whether or not you purchase that SUV you leased a few years ago.

  3. Jonny 5 - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    GTFO!!!

  4. marshmallowsnake - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    I really tried not to laugh out loud when I read this headline…

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      Oh I am with you 100% Marshamallow.
      I almost spit my coffee out when it came across my email.
      Another thought…if we can’t sign Albert…maybe we can coax Ritchie Sexton out of retirement.

      • marshmallowsnake - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM

        I just loved that it was worded like he was a replacement…when you read the article you realize otherwise…but the humor was great.

        And, Pujols will stay in STL, in my opinion.

  5. Charles Gates - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    And now Jimmy Rollins? This certainly is the year of middling middle infielders.
    /end sarcasm…sort of

  6. CJ - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    I love JRoll, but really? Pujols to Rollins isn’t a “fallback” target in the normal sense of the word. There has to be a more harsh word for that, there’s no comparison there.

    I know Berkman could move to first and Craig play full time, but that’s still a huge dropoff IMO.

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      What CJ said.

    • paperlions - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:31 PM

      Not saying that there isn’t a drop off, but how different would the production be from Pujols, Berkman, Green to Berkman, Craig, and Rollins. The last group would be far cheaper, and significantly upgrade defense at SS and RF with a downgrade at 1B. Yeah, there would be some offensive dropoff, but overall, the difference wouldn’t be that big….of course, Berkman probably only has 1 or 2 yrs left….but for 2012, it wouldn’t be that bad.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:35 PM

        Well…look at the career numbers of both. Lance had a hell of a comeback year…no doubt about it. Can we expect that to be duplicated in 2012? I am not so sure. I choose to believe A.P.’s numbers in 2011 were an anomoly and I fully expect him to return a lot closer to his career numbers. If so…the drop off would be drastic (in my opinion).

      • paperlions - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        Pujols is going to be 32, you can’t expect him to put up his career average numbers on a regular basis at that age…well…you can expect it, but you will usually be disappointed.

        I am not saying that I am for this move (I am not)…just saying that it may not be as huge a drop off as one may first think.

      • CJ - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:31 PM

        Paper,

        1) Your hypothesis is based on the assumption that the seasons Craig and Berkman had last year are sustainable. Though no one knows for sure obviously, I would think the odds are much better they both regress at least a bit next year.

        2) Your hypothesis also is based on the idea that the Cards would do nothing further to address the SS vacancy. If they spend to keep Pujols, I’d think thye’d find a way to manage to bring in an improvement over Green. I think htey could keep Furcal for a modest price, even after spending big on Pujols. So I’d look at it as Berkman/Pujols/Furcal vs. Berkman/Craig/Rollins. And don’t underestimate the dropoff from Furcal to Rollins when it comes to batting leadoff. Contrary to the belief of many, Rollins just isn’t well-suited to bat 1st.

        3) Based on #2, Berkman obviously is a constant regardless, and Rollins may be considered am overall improvement over Furcal (though at a greater price), I wouldn’t consider it major (and this is from a Phils fan). So it basically comes down to the production of Pujols vs. Craig IMO, which isn’t even close. Also note that Pujols played hurt for much of this year, so even if he doesn’t return to his career averages, his numbers will improve over last year.

        I know that’s skewing your premise since you wer eassuming Green is the starting SS, but if they spend the dough to keep Pujols, they’ll go a little extra to get a proven SS and make another run. I think it’s foolish to assume they go “all-in” by keeping Pujols but would refuse to fork over an extra $5M or so for a proven SS and choose instead to leave a gaping hope in their lineup

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM

        Contrary to the belief of many, Rollins just isn’t well-suited to bat 1st.

        Who? As far as I know only J-Roll thinks he’s a lead-off man, every Phillie fan I know wants him batting 6th in the lineup.

      • CJ - Nov 30, 2011 at 2:04 PM

        FC,

        Only those who look at his reputation over his stats. Certainly no Phillies fans. But I know many on the outside looking in who still think Rollins can be an above average leadoff hitter.

        To wihch I usually say, BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  7. benedick47 - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Rollins and Pujols have the same agent.

  8. foreverchipper10 - Nov 30, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    I am sick and tired of hearing people say Pujols “is going to regress” or that he “isn’t worth the money” or anything similar to it. He is arguably the greatest hitter of his generation and any single person on this site who is saying this negative nonsense is an idiot and/or a fool because anyone would be thrilled if Pujols suited up for their favorite team next year. Think about it and tell me you wouldn’t love it. Idiots.

    • xmatt0926x - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:40 PM

      People that can look long-term can see how crippled the Cards may be in year 5 or 6 of a 9 year deal when Albert is a shell of the legend he has been so far and the Cards will still be on the hook for 3 or 4 years at $25-30 million per season. Only the Yankees can foolishly blow that kind of money and not be crippled by it.

  9. FromThisSeat.com - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    No La Russa? No Pujols? No Furcal? How much longer will Lance Berkman keep on playing?
    Not sure if the Cardinals have it in them to keep reloading the way the Red Sox and Yankees do.

  10. okwhitefalcon - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    The thought of Rollins as a fall back to losing Albert frightens me nearly as much as signing Albert and Tyler Greene starting the season as the Cards everyday shortstop and getting Albert killed at first.

  11. mojosmagic - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Who planted this story, Rollins agent? If Pujos leaves then the Cards will need to replace his bat with a bat not an aging glove/speed guy.

  12. westcoastredbird - Dec 1, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    I would rather see Prince Fielder as the backup plan instead of JRoll if Albert wigs out. Resign Rafael Furcal and Dotel and we’ll see you back in the playoffs. Boras who was Holliday’s agent and Mo have a working relationship from last year and could get a deal done. Albert would be a moron to leave but stranger things have happened since his agent has financial and moral issues.

  13. unlost1 - Dec 1, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    “albert no more” has gone viral

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150493876644703.427544.552334702&type=1&l=f7a096392a

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