Thursday, June 18, 2009


Yeah, yeah, so I've been busy. Sue me. But while we're on the topic of the "worst" awesome player in baseball today, I'll float out a little nugget of conversation obliterating the St. Louis radiowaves lately.

A poll question on, the website for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, begged the question of this, and I paraphrase:

What would be worse for the city of St. Louis to lose? The St. Louis Rams, or Albert Pujols?

The answer, to me, is obvious. The answer was obvious to many people in my fantasy baseball league as well, only their obvious answer went the other way. Now, I hope you are right thinking people and understand the economic loss the city would sustain if a National Football League franchise were to leave town, which was my argument. One player, who very well may be starting a decline by 2011 (debatable, sure), is unquestionably better for the city to lose than a football team. In simple numbers, if Pujols leaves, one job leaves town. If the Rams leave, hundreds of jobs leave town or are lost completely. Simple mathematics.

Clearly the question is just that, a poll question. Most folks reading this blog are not from St. Louis, I assume, and thus don't really know how Cardinal management does business. Allow me to enlighten you. Now, I know, I know, "stop complaining, the Cardinals are competitive every year, yadda yadda yadda." I know. It's been a sweet ride. However, the Cardinals operate as a small market team. Our payroll is something like 81 million right now. Middle of the pack. Not showing off, not lagging behind. A lot of our success has come from, no offense, but from being in a shitty division. A .530 winning percentage is generally good enough to win the Central, but it's not the mark of a pennant contender. Granted in 2004 and 2005 the Cardinals were, in a word, great. But we won in 2006 with a shitty team that got hot at the right time.

In his tenure, Cardinal owner Bill DeWitt has done nothing to indicate that he is much more than a money grubbing owner. The payroll is always middle of the pack - I believe we are 14th currently. The team is generally competetive but not stellar...juuuuust good enough to stay competetive until October. Couple that with the fact that we are 4th in terms of highest ticket prices with the most expensive concessions in the league, and old Billy Boy is making money hand over fist. I get that it's a business, but the team could always be so much better, and it's more than a coincidence that we never go out and get a FA who isn't a "project" (Kyle Lohse, Kip Wells) who we can get off the scrap heap and hope Dave Duncan can work another miracle. The last "big" free agent we picked up was Jason Isringhausen, I believe, and he wasn't that big. Before that it was Ron Gant. They've done well through trades (Jim Edmonds), but then again they've also done not so well (Dan Haren).

My point through this incoherent rambling is this: the Cardinals are in no way a sure-fire lock to re-sign Albert Pujols. He'll command 25-30 million a year, and more importantly he wants to win. Not squeak by and have a shot at the Central, but he wants a team that is committed to giving him protection and a team that is a perennial contender. All the folks in my fantasy league and all the yahoos on sports talk radio better deal with the good possibility that Albert might be gone in 2011 and it won't be the end of the world. We'll come away with a fucking HAUL of young stud talent that should shore up two positions and 2/5 of the pitching staff for years to come - and theoretically we'll have another 30 million to spend on free agents (yeah, right!).

Believe me, I'd love to have my cake and eat it too. But since I know I can't, Pujols can go and give me the prospects. I'd rather have 5-10 more years atop the standings than .500 ball or worse with 1/3 of our salary going to one dude. Oh, and let us keep the Rams - no matter how shitty they are.

1 comment:

  1. I have no intention of having my personal attacks devolve into a legal matter.

    It's hard to weigh the effect of one baseball player against an entire football team. The real issue is whether or not the Cardinals organization shows the willingness to be competitive in the free agent market. We heard Pujols last year push to get Manny but they probably were never going to sign what was the top free agent hitter. But if they can go out and sign a top five position player and a top five pitcher in the next two years I think it would show something. I know they don't spend that much money but I'm not talking blockbuster deals.