The CD decided to play nice with the UCB (United Cardinal Bloggers) and participate in this little experiment where this open e-mail chain circulates for a day and all the responses to my question are posted here the next day. It just so happened that yesterday was ‘my day’ to send out a question.
That’s what I sent out and this is what I got back…
I think this entire situation was blown out of proportion. Anthony Castrovince wrote a nice piece on stlcardinals.com that pretty much summarizes my thoughts. It’s really no surprise that this didn’t get done before the deadline. But now I feel like the overwhelming notion among Cardinals fans and baseball fans is that Albert Pujols will no longer be a Cardinal. They forget that he still has a year left on his contract and there’s still plenty of time for this deal to get done. As Bernie Miklasz said, this deadline was merely a checkpoint. It’s time to get past the notion that this was the finish line of the Pujols talks.
Pitchers Hit Eighth Says:
I’m not sure that there is a lot of venting to be done at this point for me. This contract issue is still trending in the same direction that many have expected it to go from the start. From my viewpoint, the logical conclusion has always been free agency. Lozano pretty much has to either induce panic prior to that point or push it that far to solidify his reputation as a deal maker. If anything, I’d like to vent at some of the national media folks for taking so much attention away from Musial. For people with an ounce of common sense, the deadline wasn’t a huge deal, but it turned into a manufactured melodramatic piece of nonsense. This whole Pujols thing just reached about the 3rd inning, and some people are already glancing at the bullpen.
Seeing as how I live on the ground floor of my building, can’t get out the window at work and don’t live near any bridges, I guess I’m not jumping. As much as people want to say it’s all over now, we’ll see what happens in the fall. Call me when baseball games start, because I’m ready for real news. (Angela)
No venting here, except that I’m sad to be lumped into the national-media-imposed title that all Cardinals fans are distressed and wandering around the streets of St. Louis aimlessly because of this situation. I’m not distressed…why stress about something you have absolutely no control over? It’s is irresponsible for Cardinal fans to blame either side right now. We still have the 2011 season with Albert & negotiations are far from over. We just have to wait and see what happens. (Cadence)
It’s just another step in the negotiating process, plain & simple. If he gets to FA’cy (and I think he should), we all might learn that no team is going to give him 10 years. We might learn that Albert was just curious what he could command all along…then, simply come “back” to St. Louis with a deal he knows to be fair, confirmed by offers from other clubs. I believe we’re seeing a trend & mentioned this in a Q&A session with Mo at last month’s winter warmup. Cliff Lee, Lance Berkman & Jim Thome all signed deals this off-season. What do those deals have in common? They were not the largest offer made to the player. I expect AP to stay a Cardinal forever, and to accept the club’s [presumably fair & competitive] offer at the end of this season.
The worst part? It might be 350, 360 days from now before we know for sure.
Also, I am not that surprised that a deal didn’t get done. The hopeful, romantic side of me thought it would, but good stories don’t always rule the day. It will be very interesting to see what happens from here. To a degree, it could be a gamble — what if Albert is not his usual Albert-self in 2011 and doesn’t have his usual numbers for the first time ever? What if he (God forbid) gets hurt? There are a lot of factors that could be in play when it comes to his future based on 2011. Bigger picture, I am curious about where he’ll ultimately sign too. How much worth is there to the words Albert has said about loving St. Louis and wanting to remain a Cardinal? Interesting times ahead.
Today’s non-announcement did not surprise me either. Frankly I thought I saw this coming last year when he also set the ‘no negotiations after I show up to spring training’ deadline for an extension.
As far as the National Media making a firestorm out of this, well, kids gotta eat, it’s really been a slow off-season (at least to my mind), and with AP anointed the best player in all of baseball (which he is) it didn’t matter if he was a Pittsburgh Pirate – the national media would have descended. Yes it is frustrating that Stan Musial got very little attention nationally for his Medal of Freedom, but unfortunately Musial is much more a local icon than a national one.
Also the date of that ceremony was known a long time before Pujols/Lozano set their 15 Feb deadline. Bluntly they deserve most of the criticism for what happened over the past 3 days.
Will Pujols sign somewhere else? Only time will tell. I do believe some owner will be dumb enough to fork over 10y/$300M to AP; heck the Giants gave Barry Zito 7y/$126M. If it was so important for AP to finish his career as a Cardinal he would have re-upped by now. The Cardinals can’t plan on Pujols being in Red for 2012. Mozeliak needs to have his scouting department working overtime this year so we know who to take with our 2 compensation picks next draft, not to mention finding someone to play first base next season.
My real vent is with the fact “Albertageddon” or whatever overshadowed Stan’s day. Not that Albert intentionally did so but this start of spring training deadline is ridiculous. I love Albert Pujols for what he’s brought to the Cardinals and the City of St. Louis, but the way this has been handled so far is not good. Trying to avoid distraction it’s created an epic one. It’s obvious that team Pujols wants to test free agency and this manufactured deadline is the perfect alibi. I’m pretty sure Albert is more than capable of hitting balls off a tee and participating in other spring training drills while his agent negotiates. That’s what an agent’s for champ.
Regardless, it is what it is. As most of us have said I’m really not surprised he’s choosing to hit free agency. We have no idea of the terms on the table but I’m sure they’re a far cry from 10yrs/300mil. And of course SI’s Jon Heyman had the breaking news that an ‘unnamed competing executive’ believes that the Chicago F’n Cubs will indeed offer Albert that A-Rod type deal he’s looking for should he become a free agent. I’m not a fan of Jon Heyman by any means but I understand he’s just doing his job. Stir the pot to get hits on the website. Opening day can’t get here soon enough.
It would be juvenile and irresponsible to be venting over a non-event (I should probably check to make sure none of you fine bloggers are cussin’ up a storm before I hit send).
Oh, there’s plenty to vent about, but most of it would be in the direction of the MLB Players Association who so desperately wanted this contentious process when they lobbied for free agency in the 60s.
Since the genie is out of the bottle in the other professional sports, it is something that we all have to accept if we are to continue enjoying America’s pastime.
Aaron Hooks said it perfectly yesterday, this is a negotiation. So far it has been done very professionally, and there is no reason to believe it won’t continue in that manner. Every day that it does, we will learn more. We will learn about Albert’s health, his ability to produce under pressure that he’s never experienced over a long period, and whether or not that 10yr/$300M market actually develops.
All the passing deadlines proves is that both sides at the negotiating tables are shrewd businessmen. If a deal had been done, either the front office paid too much or Albertaccepted too little. Both sides were too smart to let that happen.
Exhale everybody, we still have another 9 months of this. Fortunately there will be at least 162 regular season games before any of this gets really serious.
Nothing to vent about. The Cardinals, in my opinion, did not sell out and give the monster contract which would have completed gutted the team for years. Let the process ride and see what happens. At least we know he is a Cardinal for 2011.
Give me that damn soapbox….
The fact that we made it to today pisses me off. No way should the best player in baseball be within sniffing distance of free agency if you want him to stay here. Deal should have been done last year, that 10 year deal starting last year doesn’t look quite so bad, does it?
The team pays Albert $16 mil this year with a payroll around $100 mil. Follow me you math nerds, because this is getting to me. Payroll does not have to be at $130 mil to include Albert. If you pay him $25-30 mil, the payroll goes up $9-14 mil respectively. 100 + 9 (or 14) = 109 (114). With the contracts of Lohse and Carpenter (most likely) coming off the books in the near future, that offsets a bit. Replacing Carp may cost a few bones, but Lohse can be replaced by someone in Memphis (or even HMW) for a helluva lot cheaper (HMW will work for Dirt Cheap Gift Certificates).
At the same time, Albert needs to settle down a bit and understand that just because ARod makes whatever some dumbass wants to pay him doesn’t mean that is what he needs to make. $25 mil per season should get this deal done. Give him 8 years with option years based on performance in years seven and eight. $25 mil over 8 years is $200 million (put your calculators away, I’ll help you out here). Add to that his first 10 years at $104 mil and you’ve got 18 years of Pujols for $304 million or just south of $17 million a year. Not so bad, huh?
Albert can say to the Cardinals “I played the first 10 years well below market value”, but he cannot say that to any other team in baseball. The Angels, Rangers, nor Cubs care what his first contract saved the Cardinals.
I think he ends up staying, but it’s utter bull shit that it’s gotten to this point.
Venting seems premature. Do I wish the Cardinals’ front office would have taken a more aggressive approach at keeping the best (i.e. most consistent) hitter in the game in Saint Louis by pushing hard for a deal one or two years ago? Yes. But am I freaking out about the “deadline” that just passed? No. I wish that all media-types would humble themselves and ask, “Do I really have any clue about these negotiations? What about the ‘source’ that I am quoting?” I’m guessing that most of the time they really don’t. Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal’s report that the Cardinals offered Pujols $19-21 Mil in AAV was laughable. Rather than falling all over every so-claimed tid-bit of information leaking from the war room, I think I’d rather resign myself to the mystery of not knowing. Until these phantom “sources” morph into someone with the name Bill DeWitt, Jr., John Mozeliak, Dan Lozano, or Albert Pujols himself, take information with a grain of salt. Again, it’s quite possible that both sides really are keeping a tight lid on this and everyone else is blowing smoke.
Having said that, I’m with Rui (at Gas House Graphs) in believing that there’s actually a pretty rational explanation for both sides to take this thing into free agency now that it’s so imminent. In short, Albert can raise his asking price by hitting the market and finding out what other teams would pay for his services. This makes sense even if he fully intends on returning to St. Louis as it would allow him to squeeze every possible last dollar out of ownership. Meanwhile, the Cardinals will also benefit from watching Albert’s market develop. Either Albert learns that they had the best offer all along or they get the opportunity to match/one-up the terms being offered from other clubs. In the event Albert picks the money over the place (because I do believe that the Cardinals will offer him a fair and ginormous contract at some point), well, it was fun while it lasted.
One thing’s for sure. We better enjoy this season.