I wanted to wait a day before chiming in on the whole Albert Pujols situation, and his leaving for “greener” pastures in LA. See I believe that had I wrote this yesterday, my emotions would have gotten the better of me and I don’t want to be like that. Am I still angry, disappointed, saddened that Albert Pujols chose the money over the loyalty, HECK YES! Am I going to burn his jersey and T-Shirt, HECK NO! First off we as Cardinals fans should be above that, but more importantly than that is the fact that Albert may still go into the HOF and that jersey will still have some value. Tarnished, of course, but let’s say for argument sake he is only an Angel a few years and his career is cut short by injury (he does get hurt a lot), he may still have more years as a Cardinal and would most likely go into Cooperstown a Cardinal. Not for certain but it’s possible.
So I wanted to just say my piece and be done with it. To me, I bought into the whole “I love St. Louis, I love the fans, where else could I go and be in a winning organization and I have enough money”, and frankly it was a big fat lie! I hear all the experts, I’m talking to you Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, and the like who feels the organization disrespected Albert Pujols. I get that he was not paid like the best player in the game, but I also get that the Cardinals stretched themselves to the limit to keep him here. By the way kudos to the organization for not matching that rather assanine offer the Angels made. They will regret that decision when Albert spends considerable time on the DL, or in decline. They will realize that they acted, well rather rashly, and they will most definitely look back and go “what the hell did we do this for?” I don’t believe that they will to go to as many World Series in Albert’s next 10 years, that Albert led the Cardinals too in his first 11. There’s too much strength and parody in the American League, heck they are going to still struggle in their own division. As of this writing the Rangers are still the team to beat in the American League West. I would absolutely love it if the Rangers ponied up the money and landed Prince Fielder, that way Albert may not even be the best First Baseman in his own division in time. So enjoy the King while he’s still the King, but remember the Cardinals got his best years.
As for the Cardinals, they will be just fine. There’s a great quote from the book “The Tale of Two Cities” that says “The Needs of the Many, outweigh the needs of the Few, or the One”. That statement can’t have any more meaning than in this case as the Many (The St Louis Cardinals team) didn’t bow down to the “needs” of the One (Pujols). The Cardinals would have been handcuffed for years, and would not be able to financially compete down the road. I, for one want to see that money spent to lock up guys like Wainwright, Freese, Molina, and other guys that were major contributors to the Cardinals success. Hopefully Molina, will not follow his best buddy Pujols to LA, but if he does see ya! I, trust in John Mozeliak to now concentrate his efforts in multiple players for the 2012 season. I would have liked to seen the Cardinals go after Prince Fielder and just to rub salt in the wound give him number 5, but that was the emotions of yesterday talking. Today I’d like to see the Cardinals pursue the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Beltran or a Michael Cuddyer. As for first base, the Cardinals have a proven All Star Calliber player there, his name is Lance Berkman. I’d like to see them offer Berkman the opportunity to retire here as well to be honest. The future is very bright, and yes, you can not replace an Albert Pujols. But you certainly aren’t left with a bare cupboard, after all this team is a World Series Champion, and depending on where Prince Fielder lands should be a favorite going into next season, if nothing else to win the National League Central.
Now I want to address, all the so called “experts” who said Albert was crazy to turn down a 50 million dollar jump in pay (Cardinals offered 210 million, and the Angels offer was for 254 million). By my math that is a 44 million dollar difference or 4.4 million a year over the life of his new contract. Wasn’t it Albert Pujols himself who said that he’d be crazy to leave the St Louis Cardinals and their fans over 3-4 million dollars, he’s got money he said. Well to all the experts, before you go running your pie holes, read that quote from 2009.
“Do I want to be in St. Louis forever? Of course,” Pujols said. “People from other teams want to play in St. Louis and they’re jealous that we’re in St. Louis because the fans are unbelievable. So why would you want to leave a place like St. Louis to go somewhere else and make $3 or $4 more million a year? It’s not about the money. I already got my money. It’s about winning and that’s it”
Followed by this little gem:
“It’s not about the money all the time,” the first baseman said. “It’s about being in a place to win and being in a position to win. If the Cardinals are willing to do that and put a team (on the field) every year like they have, I’m going to try to work everything out to stay in this town. But if they’re not bringing championship caliber play every year, then it’s time for me to go somewhere else that I can win… When I signed my contract I was really happy with what I got. When that time comes (for another contract) then we’re going to figure it out.“
So that offer that he was foolish to turn down, in reality was a little bit more than what he said he’d not leave for, so shut up! And even if the Cardinals offer was only 200 million, and the difference was 50 million, that’s 5 million a year more than the Cardinals offer. So it’s 1 million more than what he was quoted about above. I know we aren’t supposed to compare athletes to every day folks, but I’m going to anyway. I’ll use this analogy, let’s say you’re at a job where you love the company. You get along great with your co-workers, and your boss. Heck, you’re so established you can get away with anything. You can be sick and no one will question it. Your production can go down before you retire, but you have it so made in the company that no one would give you a hard time. Let’s say that job paid 10.00 hourly, would you leave that job for a 12-13 dollar an hour job to move to a company, you’ve never worked for? In a community where you don’t know how you will be received, where you don’t know your bosses or co-workers? Would you leave the company that stood by you, discovered your talents and paid you for them for a rival company just because they offered you 3 dollars an hour more? Think about that before you go saying that Albert did the right thing. He absolutely did not, in my opinion.
It was his right to see what was out there, and had the Cardinals not made him a fair competitive offer, I could see him going. But to sit here and say that Albert is bitter and has a right to be because the organization didn’t move heaven and earth to cater to his ego, well that’s flat out incorrect. Albert took the easy way, by taking the money and running but never hard as Albert only runs hard when he absolutely has to.
So LA Angels of Anaheim, you’ve got yourself one hell of a hitter and you should enjoy him while he is still one hell of a hitter. But know this, it won’t last, you made a big time roll of the dice and you may end up shooting craps by the end of this contract. How many players will have to eventually leave because of the salary prison you have sentenced yourselves too?
As for the St Louis Cardinals, well they’ll be just fine Thank You.