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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wuerz: Albert Pujols makes eye-opening comments about the Cardinals

As was once asked of Albert Fish…“Where are the needles, Albert?”

It’s interesting how former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols has suddenly become so visible again in St. Louis.

Pujols appeared on local sports radio yesterday to talk about the election of former Redbirds manager Tony La Russa to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and during the conversation the subject changed to newly acquired St. Louis outfielder Peter Bourjos.

His former teammate in Anaheim, Pujols predicted great things for Bourjos as a starting player. And then he said that while he hates to see the young centerfielder go, he told Bourjos that he was fortunate that he was going to get to go play in front of the best fans and for the best organization in baseball.

Seriously?

In a vacuum it might seem like Albert was just trying to be nice. But let’s remember that not only was his exit from the Cardinals highly contentious, so much so that he was insulted by the Redbirds’ initial contract offer and that he made a snap decision to sign with the Angels without even giving St. Louis a last chance to match the offer. Couple that with the fact that Albert wasn’t really very accessible to the media for long interviews even when he played here and it was a unique, almost surreal situation. Sure he would gush about the Cardinals fans whenever he was interviewed about some award he’d won. But he rarely would sit and talk baseball for an extended period of time in a radio interview. The situation was also odd because of the fact that Pujols signed that personal services contract as part of his Anaheim deal to promote the Angels. And now he’s talking up the Cardinals in public?

Wow! Albert seems these days to be very interested in the building burned bridges business.

While I think a lot of the bad feelings about Pujols have subsided, I believe that’s largely because Albert has struggled so mightily since he signed his massive contract with Anaheim. Cardinals fans who once viewed his defection as heart breaking now see it as a dodged bullet.

Repoz Posted: December 10, 2013 at 10:07 AM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, cardinals

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   1. vivaelpujols Posted: December 10, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4614938)
This writer's an idiot if he thinks there were any bridges burned by Pujols' departure. With the exception of a few dumbasses, I'm guessing nearly every Cardinals fan still thinks very fondly of Pujols. You don't just forget about a player who put up 85 WAR, a ROY, 2 MVP's and 2 WS titles because he took a bigger offer to play somewhere else in the second half of his career.

Edit: obvious bias
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4614939)
This writer's an idiot if he thinks there were any bridges burned by Pujols' departure. With the exception of a few dumbasses, I'm guessing nearly every Cardinals fan still thinks very fondly of Pujols. You don't just forget about a player who put up 85 WAR, a ROY, 2 MVP's and 2 WS titles because he took a bigger offer to play somewhere else in the second half of his career.

I don't say you're wrong about the current attitude in StL. But, that has to be heavily conditioned by the events since Pujols left.

If Pujols had put up two MVP-calibre seasons, while leading LAA to a World Series, while StL languished in the second division, people would probably view him differently right now.
   3. Publius Publicola Posted: December 10, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4614956)
Oh god, Repoz! The intro!
   4. bunyon Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4614963)
Not giving interviews does not equal snubbing fans. I mean, it's not news, but sportswriters seem to think that sports exist for them to have a bully pulpit.
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4614965)
I still think that Albert will play the last game of his career in a Cardinal uniform.

Agree with post 1. and also post 2. I do think that the people with animosity towards him are more vocal than their numbers.

As far as the article is concerned, I don't remember his exit being "highly contentious"... there was a little bit of bad blood, but nothing of burned bridges level.
   6. JE (Jason) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4614966)
I still think that Albert will play the last game of his career in a Cardinal uniform.

It's more likely that he'll receive a one-day contract.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4614967)
I also agree with post 4. For some reasons the writers seem to think that snubbing writers is equivalent to snubbing fans. Most fans don't honestly care about interviews in the paper or after the game. I do know that an accessible player will get positive feedback from the writers so that can shape the fans perception of the player, but Albert did a tremendous amount of public work in St Louis that he didn't need the writers to shape the perception of him from the fans.
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4614970)
It's hard to say because of the contract Pujols has with the Angels that includes a 10 year service clause, but I think something will be arranged. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Cardinals "acquire" that service clause. By the time that contract is over with there is a good chance Pujols will not be very well liked in Anaheim. Mind you, I still think Pujols has 3-5 good years in him(not Pujols years mind you, but 120-130 ops+ years)
   9. Sleepless in Munich Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4614973)
If Pujols had put up two MVP-calibre seasons, while leading LAA to a World Series, while StL languished in the second division, people would probably view him differently right now.


I think bad feelings towards players subside quickly regardless of their performance. In your scenario, the StL front office is probably by now the bad guy - "They let the greatest Cardinal of all time leave over a few million dollars and instead wasted money on (free agent bust)."
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4614979)
This writer's an idiot if he thinks there were any bridges burned by Pujols' departure. With the exception of a few dumbasses, I'm guessing nearly every Cardinals fan still thinks very fondly of Pujols. You don't just forget about a player who put up 85 WAR, a ROY, 2 MVP's and 2 WS titles because he took a bigger offer to play somewhere else in the second half of his career.



It helps the Cards have been very successful since he left. Had they not had Matt Carpenter and Allan Craig and a few other youngsters to replace Pujols and went into the wilderness for a few seasons, I would guess there would be quite a bit of enmity and blaming of Albert.
   11. vivaelpujols Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4614984)
I would guess there would be quite a bit of enmity and blaming of Albert.


I doubt it, Angels offered 40 million more. Only the most entitled fans would blame Pujols for that. Most Cards fans are better than that (cue BFIB bs).
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4614991)
Only the most entitled fans would blame Pujols for that


I don't buy that for a second. Any fan base gets upset when a player chooses money over playing for their favorite team. "Why is he all about the money? Doesn't he love our team the way we love our team? Its a privelege!" is a common human reaction. Look at Yankees fans reacting to Cano, Red Sox fans to Ellsbury.
   13. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4614999)
I'll bet that if the Yankees offered - say - Gardner, Anaheim would pay the freight for Pujols.
   14. JE (Jason) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4615002)
I'll bet that if the Yankees offered - say - Gardner, Anaheim would pay the freight for Pujols.

Because the Yankees desperately need another wannabe designated hitter?
   15. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4615003)
Fact is, virtually every player takes the highest offer. Most fans don't see it that way though. I remember it most vividly when Pedro left Boston--where he was playing in the first place because they gave him a ton of cash. As if this Dominican fellow had a special fondness for the city, because it was the cradle of the American Revolution.
   16. vivaelpujols Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4615004)
Look at Yankees fans reacting to Cano, Red Sox fans to Ellsbury.


You just named the two most entitled fanbases in MLB, so I'm not sure that proves much -:)
   17. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4615005)
Reading the intro, I thought the eye-opening part was going to be about Pujols saying somebody other than his own current team's fans were the best in baseball. Somebody else will probably write that column. I think Simers writes for the Orange County paper now.
   18. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4615009)
Because the Yankees desperately need another wannabe designated hitter?


Besides who? If Gardner goes away as part of the deal, I see their OF as Soriano/Smellsbury/Beltran.

A-Rod and Jeter probably could use some DH time. So a third baseman or (preferably) a SS who can convincingly fake 3B is better, for maximum flexibility. But this team trotted out Travis Hafner/Vernon Wells at DH for long stretches last year; I don't see a huge DH logjam.
   19. bunyon Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4615015)
It is a little different with Pujols in that he started with and re-signed once with the Cardinals. I can forgive a Cardinal fan for thinking that he'd stick around forever. But, yeah, the vast majority of the time, a free agent takes the most cash. As would almost all of us.
   20. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4615025)
It was probably not just the cash, but also the tone of the contract discussions.

Cardinals: We see you as a 7 WAR player who will decline to a 1 WAR player by the 10th year and we are willing to pay XXXX for that. That's is what players with your value are worth on the open market. Look at so and so....and so and so.

Angels: We see you as an icon and want you as part of our family 10 years after you retire. Bring us the highest offer you get and we'll add $30M to it and make you an Angel for life.
   21. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4615026)
I'll bet that if the Yankees offered - say - Gardner, Anaheim would pay the freight for Pujols.


Because the Yankees desperately need another wannabe designated hitter?


And don't the Angels already have Bourjos, Trout and Hamilton?
   22. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4615029)
RTFA, Votto. Bourjos is with St. Louis.
   23. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4615032)
Fact is, virtually every player takes the highest offer.


Of course when you sign a pre-arb extension you only get one offer, but this made me think about Andrew McCutchen. He signed a longer extension than he had to and will be paid a fraction of his value for another five years. Had he refused the extension he'd be lined up to get $350 million, at least, from the Yankees next winter. I wonder whether he regrets signing the extension. I'm sure his agent does.
   24. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4615037)
I like him, but $350 million?
   25. JE (Jason) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM (#4615039)
Besides who?

Beltran will require ample DH time too. Taking on Pujols without jettisoning Teix first seems silly.
   26. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4615045)
Anyway, I was just spitballin'. I would think that any team for which marginal wins are worth more than the cost would be able to either take on the full Pujols contract or give back a cost-controlled All-Star for him. And I think the Angels would probably take it.
   27. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4615046)
I like him, but $350 million?


Let's assume McCutchen's 2014 is somewhat, but not very much, weaker than his 2013. He'd be hitting free agency at 28 and coming off a string of three straight MVP-caliber seasons, and he's a center fielder with plenty of bat to move down the spectrum when he gets old. You don't think he gets 12 years at $30 million per from somebody? I think he would get at least that much.
   28. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4615048)
I guess we'll never know for sure, but that sounds really long/high to me.
   29. Monty Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4615223)
So Pujols says nice things about St. Louis, you say? Good heavens! Can't imagine why he'd do that, because it's not like he'd have really good memories of playing there.
   30. McCoy Posted: December 10, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4615232)
You don't think he gets 12 years at $30 million per from somebody?

I do not. 10 years and around 250 would be about the highest I'd expect to see.
   31. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4615266)
I do not. 10 years and around 250 would be about the highest I'd expect to see.

What about Harper and Trout? Would they get 12 years and $350M. I have to think Trout would.
   32. The Good Face Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4615301)
I do not. 10 years and around 250 would be about the highest I'd expect to see.

What about Harper and Trout? Would they get 12 years and $350M. I have to think Trout would.


Assuming Trout maintains his current level of performance into his FA, he would do better than 12/$350M, and he'd deserve it.
   33. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:46 PM (#4615322)
If Trout hit FA at the first opportunity he would get $400 million, maybe $450 million. You guys are shooting way too low. The notion that a 28-year-old McCutchen would get 10/250 when a 32-year-old Cano just got 10/240 is absurd.
   34. SouthSideRyan Posted: December 10, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4615330)
I really like 16 following up 11.
   35. Jay Z Posted: December 10, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4615558)
Reading the intro, I thought the eye-opening part was going to be about Pujols saying somebody other than his own current team's fans were the best in baseball. Somebody else will probably write that column. I think Simers writes for the Orange County paper now.


Agreed. This is completely unprofessional and inappropriate. Pujols is being paid like a CEO. The least he can do is have his baseball playing loyalties 100% directed towards the Angels for the duration of his employ.
   36. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 10:47 PM (#4615644)

I would think Cards fans would be ecstatic that Pujols didn't accept the team's offer at this point. That is looking to be one mighty bad contract.
   37. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: December 11, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4615837)
2017: Harper and Trout sign a joint, 12 year, billion dollar contract.

With Tokyo.
   38. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4615868)
Yeah, Trout will be a FA at 26, if he doesn't sign an extension. If that happens, he's going to make ARod's contract look like chump change, not least because the Angels have a lot of money and will have a LOT of incentive to top whatever anybody else offers. I'd say $400 million at the bottom, if he's still going strong.

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