Tag:Albert Pujols
Posted on: June 20, 2011 4:32 pm

Albert Pujols to the DL

Early in spring training, the St. Louis Cardinals received the devastating news that their ace, Adam Wainwright, would need to have Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2011 season. The runner-up for last year's NL Cy Young Award, Wainwright went 20-11 with a 2.42 ERA. The 29-year-old was expected to anchor a rotation this season that would need to be at its best in order to compete with division rivals Milwaukee and Cincinnati.
Despite losing Wainwright, St. Louis has remained very much a part of the NL Central race. The Cardinals are currently tied with Milwaukee for first place; last year's champions - the Reds - trail by two games. With three legitimate playoff contenders, the central has undoubtedly developed into one of the best divisions in baseball. Even the perennial bottom-feeding Pittsburgh Pirates (35-36) are playing decent ball this year.
If there is one player that the Cards cannot afford to lose, it's Albert Pujols. It's hard to think of many other situations around the league where a player means more to his team. That is precisely why today's news is so disturbing for the St. Louis faithful.
The 9X All-Star first baseman will reportedly miss 4-6 weeks with a fractured left forearm. The injury occurred on a play when Pujols was pulled off the first base bag in an attempt to tag Kansas City infielder Wilson Betemit. Pujols leads his team in runs (52), is tied for first in home runs (17), and is second in RBIs (45).
It's June 20. Albert Pujols has 17 HR and 45 RBIs. And we're talking about a year in which Pujols is "struggling" at the plate. Albeit a down year by his standards, the 3X NL MVP is still an invaluable piece of St. Louis' core. He is still the most feared bat in all of baseball. Without "the machine", there is a monstrous void in the middle of this lineup. Lance Berkman (.308, 17HR, 51 RBI) is having an excellent year; but he's no Albert Pujols. As players such as Berkman and Matt Holliday are now forced to shoulder more of the load, their production will decrease. One of the main reasons why these players have success is because of the protection that Pujols provides.
Losing Wainwright was bad, this is much worse. Although Wainwright is certainly St. Louis' best pitcher, he's only playing once every five days. Albert Pujols has never played less than 143 games in his career. Why is he called the machine? the dependability, the consistency. Cardinals fans know that every single year their first baseman will be among one of the best players in the game.
At the end of this season, there is a possibility that the Cardinals lose Pujols to free agency. Over the next four to six weeks, this franchise will get a taste of life without Albert. My prediction - the Cardinals will have difficulty staying atop this division.
There is a silver lining here. Pujols has never been injury-prone throughout his career. The injury coupled with a slight decrease in production this season may have lowered his value to potential suitors. Of course, this is all speculation. Pujols could return from injury and play like an MVP. But, When he hits free agency this summer, potential big spenders (such as the Cubs) now may be less inclined to throw A-Rod-like money at the 6X Silver Slugger Award Recipient. The result: St. Louis may have a better shot at signing their first baseman.
For the next four to six weeks, Cardinals fans will miss their best player. All they can hope is that the rest of this lineup does enough to keep this team afloat until old reliable number five returns.
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:50 pm

War of Words in the Windy City?

Last Wednesday, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols's contract negotiation deadline, came and went with no deal. So what does this mean? The 9x All-Star will likely hit the free agent market at the conclusion of the 2011 season; unless, of course, he decides that he wants to resume contract negotiations at some point in the coming months.
With Pujols most likely headed into the uncertain waters of free agency after this year's World Series, it begs the question: which teams will make a run at the game's best player?
At this point, the most likely possibility seems to be the Chicago Cubs, who could potentially purge themselves of $40 million in salary with the losses of first baseman Carlos Peña, starting pitcher Carlos Silva, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome at season's end. It seems unlikely that Pujols would join a division rival this offseason. However, the reason the 6x Silver Slugger Award winner didn't re-sign with St. Louis was money (The Cardinals' proposed deal reportedly failed to give Pujols one of the top five average annual salaries in the league). What will the Chicago Cubs probably have a great deal of at season's end? Money.
Landing Albert Pujols would most likely entail offering the slugger somewhere close to, if not, $30 million in annual salary. We know one thing for sure, that kind of money is enough to keep Pujols out of Chicago; the South side, that is.
"For the game's health as a whole, when we're talking about $30 million players, I think it's asinine," White Sox general manager Ken Williams told Comcast SportsNet in regards to the prospect of Pujols becoming the MLB's highest paid player. Williams went on to describe his preferred strategy were he to spend $30 million on his team: "If [owner Jerry Reinsdorf] gave me $30 million right now, I'm not going to spend it on one guy. Sorry, White Sox fans..But I tell you what, I'm going to take that $30 million and I'm going to distribute it around. My team is going to be better as a whole than it is with one player who might get hurt. Then you're done. Sorry, that's just me. And that's no disrespect to a future Hall of Famer, first ballot, one of the greatest players in history."
It may be no disrespect to Albert Pujols, but the same cannot be said towards those teams possibly considering making a run at the 3x NL MVP. It's no secret that the Cubs are now Pujols's most likely alternate destination, even though it is still uncertain whether he will reach free agency. The Cubs and the White Sox: their rivalry is no secret either.
The regular season series between the "North Siders" and "South Siders" is 41-37, but Williams may have just tried to score another point for his side. By deeming the prospect of a team giving Pujols $30 million in annual salary, the "South Siders" general manager is taking an indirect shot at Cubs management.
Although Williams is candid in his assessment of the Pujols contract situation, there is no doubt that his comments are an indication of the fact that he bristles at the thought of the game's best player landing across town. The Cubs may be "asinine" in even considering signing the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year to a contract stipulating a $30 million salary, but I think I know something Ken Williams would find even more "asinine": Albert Pujols leading the Chicago Cubs to their first Word Series title since 1908 before the White Sox win their fourth.

Category: MLB
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