As I watched the Brewers handle the Cardinals over the weekend I began giving a lot of thought to the idea of a new Crown Prince reigning over the Gateway City for the next five years. And the more I thought about it the more it made sense to me. Now before everyone gets all pissy and homerish about the idea of Pujols leaving or Fielder coming to St. Louis (he HAS matured), I am not saying the Cardinals should take this approach but rather it would be irresponsible for them not to consider it. Take a step back yourself, think about it rationally and you SHOULD come to the conclusion that this is not a bad scenario for the Cardinals.
The 2011 Cardinals said good bye to defense as a priority long before opening day so why not continue this trend into 2012. Let the offense to win you games while hoping it out weighs and over shadows the D. Besides, how many games would it cost the Cardinals by swapping out Pujols Gold Glove for Fielder’s lead one? Hard to say, yes there would be a marked dropped off, but would it cost the Cardinals 10 games? The Division? The World Series? Doubtful.
The best approach is to look at this purely from a statistical point of view. Not 331/42/121 vs. 279/38/105 (Pujols’ & Fielder’s averages over the last five full seasons). But rather 31 years vs. 27 years (respective ages), 10 years vs. 5 years (potential contract length) and $300 million vs. $135 million (value of contract). Yes there is concern that Fielder may break down sooner rather than later, but if that is the case, after 5 years (potentially…I know he is a Boras client) you have him off the books. If Albert gets his 10 years, when his inevitable decline begins the Cardinals will still have at minimum 4+ years left and a lot of money still owed. Yes the baseball stat line in heavily weighted towards Pujols now but will that be the case in 3 years? Can the Cardinals afford to take that bet? Mozeliak and crew need to think about 2017-2023, not just 2012-2017.
In five years who knows what the landscape of baseball is going to look like. Holiday, Waino, Molina, Shelby Miller, Jaime Garcia, Zach Cox will hopefully all be fixtures on the Major League roster. Would you as a fan give up most of that to give Pujols his $30 million? Because guess what…that group is going to command its fair share of cash as well. We all remember the McGwire years. It was an amazing time in Cardinal baseball…but not a winning time. St. Louis must decide if it wants to be a side show on the MLB stage or the featured act, contending for the World Series years in and year out.
Besides, and I know it is sac religious to say, but the Cardinals have 1 World Series with Pujols and ZERO playoff games in the last 4 years. Prince Fielder is younger, cheaper (not by a lot), will command less years and is an option Cardinal fans should embrace and Cardinal ownership should explore.
Just my thoughts…if you’re smart you’ll most likely agree. If not keep on reading my articles and you’ll get up to speed.
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