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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Sistrunk: Albert Pu-who? Cardinals better off without him

Read on while I try and locate Berkman’s “several sub-par, injury-riddled seasons” before joining the Cards. Thanks.

Of course, Berkman’s injured knee threw a wrench into the Redbirds’ original plans, but Craig’s stellar play has made that a moot point. If we do a comparison of Pujols’ and Craig’s numbers to this point, the stats are similar. After another slow start, Pujols has rebounded and is batting .287 with 29 HRs and 92 RBI and is well on his way to yet another stellar season. Craig is holding his own though, batting .311 with 20 HRs and 73 RBI in nearly 150 less at-bats. Craig has also excelled in clutch-hitting, often doing damage with runners in scoring position.

Sure, Pujols’ numbers are slightly better, but even with the extensive backloading and numbers juicing the Angels did with his contract, Pujols is earning $12 million this season (the annual per year average is just over $25M). Compare that with Craig’s meager $495k salary and the Cardinals are laughing all the way to the bank.

...Of course, the real value is in the extended view of the contracts. While the 28-year old Craig has plenty of baseball in front of him, guys like Berkman and Beltran are nearing the end of their careers. When they’re finished producing as elite-level players, they’ll likely retire or the Cardinals have the flexibility to pay them less or let them walk. While Craig’s salary will surely rise via arbitration after the season, he won’t become eligible for free agency until 2017, meaning he’ll have a reasonable contract for the foreseeable future.

A 42-year old Pujols and his $30 salary will likely be an albatross around the neck of the Angels in 2021, causing the franchise to stagger. That means the Angels must win a few World Series to make the monster contract worthwhile. Considering the club only has one World Series championship in its 51-year history, the prospects of achieving that goal are a little murky.

So while it’s easy to blame the loss of Pujols during power outages or awful offensive spurts like the team recently suffered, the truth is that the Cardinals are much better off without the best player in baseball. My bet is that St. Louis will see another parade on Market Street before Pujols leads one in Anaheim.

Repoz Posted: September 06, 2012 at 03:35 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, cardinals

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   1. TomH Posted: September 06, 2012 at 07:32 AM (#4227969)
when you factor in his huge salary outlay, the conclusion is plausible.

But "My bet is that St. Louis will see another parade on Market Street before Pujols leads one in Anaheim" is a junk closer line. It's a game where you need a complete team to win, son. This ain't the NBA.
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 06, 2012 at 08:11 AM (#4227986)
a mildly interesting comparison is prince fielder leaving milwaukee and milwaukee's offense getting better. in 2011 milwaukee scored 4.45 runs per game and this season it's at 4.77

a lot of fans look at rickie weeks and then assume that the brewers offense has been worse

short version is that ramirez is a huge improvement over casey mcgehee, a trio of subs have been better than betancourt, and catcher has been better. hart has been pretty at first. the brewers are great basestealers/baserunners so there is some incremental value there

   3. vivaelpujols Posted: September 06, 2012 at 08:30 AM (#4227996)
Someone explain to this guy that the Cardinals could have had Craig and Pujols. The real comparison is Pujols vs. Beltran and Pujols has been better than Beltran this year.

Of course I agree that the contract looks terrible now. If Pujols had a typical 7 WAR year it would look fine, but he's looking at 4-5 WAR which severely reduces his projection going forward.
   4. BDC Posted: September 06, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4228024)
the 28-year old Craig has plenty of baseball in front of him

I wish Allen Craig great success, and I would imagine that he's worked his tail off to flourish in the big leagues after a long stretch in the minors. But whether he has "plenty of baseball in front of him" is an open question. Here are some guys who hit very well as third-season 27-year-olds in the past half-century:

Player            Year OPS+  PA Age
Don Lock          1964  123 598  27
Jimmie Hall       1965  124 579  27
Dave Revering     1980  135 412  27
Ron Hassey        1980  129 447  27
Randy Milligan    1989  144 444  27
Rusty Greer       1996  128 617  27
Morgan Ensberg    2003  131 441  27
Travis Hafner     2004  162 576  27
Ben Broussard     2004  127 485  27
Josh Willingham   2006  121 573  27
Brad Hawpe        2006  120 575  27
Allen Craig       2012  146 403  27 


There are some useful players on that list, and one (Hafner) who was briefly a legitimate star. But history doesn't suggest that guys who come up at 25 and then hit a nice peak at 27 necessarily have lots of star baseball ahead of them. (Of course, two of the best players on the list, Hafner and Greer, were severely hampered by injuries, and Craig might escape that. He's also versatile on defense, whereas Hafner is a born DH.)

I repeat: I hope Craig bucks the trend and becomes a perennial All-Star through his mid-30s. But there's a big difference between him and players like Pujols and Beltran. You can't find an Allen Craig every year, and by the nature of things you have to find an Allen Craig every year in order to continually replace Pujols at low cost.
   5. AROM Posted: September 06, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4228049)
A 42-year old Pujols and his $30 salary will likely be an albatross around the neck of the Angels in 2021, causing the franchise to stagger.


That's silly. It's quite possible that Pujols' entire salary has already been paid for thanks to the massive TV deal the Angels got right after he signed. All you'd have to do to make that case is assume that having Albert added 10% to what they would have otherwise gotten. Even beyond that, paying 30 million to a washed up player 10 years from now probably doesn't hurt more than paying 21 million to a 4th outfielder today.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: September 06, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4228092)
I'm not going to click on the link, because that might ruin my fantasy this was written by Otis.

   7. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: September 06, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4228143)
Otis Sistrunk, from the University of Mars.
   8. Greg Schuler Posted: September 06, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4228367)
A 42-year old Pujols and his $30 salary will likely be an albatross around the neck of the Angels in 2021, causing the franchise to stagger.


Roman Abramovich doesn't see a problem with this as long as they WIN...

To Moreno's credit, he spends money on the baseball club. From a value standpoint, the idea of paying a declining Albert Pujols $30mil a year might seem foolish, but who cares except cranky sports journalists who need an easy hack piece every so often?
   9. jingoist Posted: September 06, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4228391)
"Otis Sistrunk, from the University of Mars"

Now that was when Monday Night Football was worth watching.

Alex Karras is/was easily my favorite color analyst for football, just ahead of Al Derogatis
   10. phredbird Posted: September 06, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4228402)
who is this 'albert pujols' everyone is talking about?

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