Am I really suggesting that the Cardinals trade Albert Pujols?
But not to the degree that you may have initially thought.
Pujols is the best player in the game today. Arguable, it is. After all, Pujols is fending off National League pitching. And we are confident that the AL is at least slightly stronger than the NL.
Should the Cardinals trade Pujols? No, they don’t have to.
Albert sells tickets. Albert kills the ball. And for my money, Albert
helps his team win games as much as anyone in baseball–and helps as
much as most that have ever played this fine game.
But it isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound the first time you read it.
The Cardinals seem to avoid spending money. They don’t seem like they
want to bring in anyone to help Pujols, and the rest of the team, via
free agency. Kiss the division goodbye, not technically, but I cannot
see the Cardinals giving the Cubbies a run for the division title.
And I do believe that the Cards have the ability to sneak up on us and
remain competitive throughout the majority of the year. But it seems
realistic that the Wild Card winner will need to earn 88+ wins.
Can the Cardinals do this? Can they win 88 games or more?
I don’t believe that they will be that good.
And that is short term of me, to only think about 2009. Because Pujols
is under contract for the 2010 season, too. And the Cardinals have a
$16 million team option for 2011, that will definitely be exercised
(unless Pujols floats away from the planet he has been on by himself
for the past few seasons).
The St. Louis Cardinals have a strong Farm system. So shooting for
contention, serious contention, is not unrealistic either in a year or
two. After all; Colby Rasmus, Brett Wallace, and Daryl Jones shouldn’t
be too far away from joining the Big League club. And all three of
those young guns are in Keith Law’s Top 50 prospects. So offensive
help is on the way.
But the Cardinals cannot force those players to develop faster. It
wouldn’t be the right approach, and of course very well may hinder
Pujols has concerns, injury concerns. And as far as I know, those
injuries haven’t subsided. If my facts are correct, Pujols may need to
have surgery to completely repair the problem. Hitting .355 last
season is a good sign that Pujols can play, but the injury is a reason
that the Cardinals are going to think twice about extending the
superstar’s contract to 6 or 7 seasons.
Simply put, it just seems interesting to me, thinking about the kind of
package Pujols could bring back. What kind of return? How much
talent? The return for Pujols, assuming that a team surrenders minor
leaguers, could potentially give the Cardinals the best farm system in
baseball. Law has them ranked sixth as of now, so acquiring 3-4 more
prospects, with a few very good ones, could give this team loads of
talent in, say 2011.
I don’t think Pujols should be traded, I simply think it should be
explored. I often wonder how much the organization could benefit in
the long haul, if they did, in fact, entertain the idea.
The Cardinals are against spending it seems, so they must rely on the
strength of their homegrowns/prospects going forward. And this move
would certainly strengthen what could be a very strong, young core for
But he IS Albert Pujols…