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.
Posted: September 06, 2012 at 02:35 AM | 10 comment(s)
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