For starters it can get you five to eight years (at 30 per) of the best player in baseball. It could get you another five or so years of roughly 328/43/127. At the very least it will get the Cardinals another 2.5 million fans through the turnstiles and continued jersey sales.
Come this November John Mozeliak is going to have a big decision to make. This decision ties directly into Mozeliak’s future with the Cardinals. The direction Mo and management choose to go with all that loot will determine whether he is the next Joe McDonald or Dal Maxvill. Perhaps the question should read “what should you get with $30 million” rather than what do you get.
Bill Dewitt is the father to Mozeliaks’ son. The situation reminds me of a father who gives his son a $50 bill and tells him he can spend it any way he wants…as the boy walks away the father yells from a distance but don’t spend it all in one place! Granted the scale is different. It is a lot easier to recover from misspending $50 as opposed to $30 million. But if there is a more fitting analogy for the upcoming Cardinals offseason, please someone tell me.
Should the Cardinals choose to invest the money into one player, Albert Pujols, it’s an easy sell to the fans. You keep the best player in baseball in St. Louis and make sure he retires wearing the Birds on a Bat. You create a reason to turn in and come out to the games. The marketing slogan writes itself, “Come out and watch Albert’s assault on the records books.” The fans will file in and the Cardinals will win some games.
The danger in this is a return to the McGwire era. A time when the Cardinals were relevant not for winning pennants or competing for the World Series but for their dominating super star. The games were must see TV and the team set attendance records year after year. And it is safe to say profits were up for Dewitt & Co. Well for myself and many other fans being relevant and winning some games is not enough.
Which leads to the another answer to the initial question. Follow the father’s advice and spread the money around. $30 million can get the Cardinals one player, a 3-time MVP. It can also get them two more years of a Cy Young winning pitcher, two to three years of a switch hitting 5-time All Star and either a legit middle of the rotation starting pitcher or an actual closer.
Anyone who has watched the Cardinals blow 24 saves and struggle behind Chris Carpenter is torn between rectifying those issue and locking up Pujols long term. From a logical, baseball point of view it should be an easy decision. As nice as it is to have the best player in baseball, the best player of a generation, perhaps the best hitter of all time a Cardinal, winning a World Series takes precedence.
As much as I wish the choice was mine, it is not. It is up to a group of individuals as concerned with profits as they are with winning. They will make the decision which way to invest more with their wallets than their hearts. Will it be Albert Pujols or will it be Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman and Heath Bell.
Either way Cardinal faithful will fill the seats at Busch. But for how long. It has been four years (with Pujols) since the Cardinals last won a playoff game. If the empty seats this season are any indication, the fans are tired of mediocre baseball. The real question is, are the owners?
These are just my thoughts…keep on reading and you’ll get up to speed.
Derek is on Twitter @SportsbyWeeze and also writes for the Rams at RamsHerd.com
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