Trade Albert Pujols?

Am I really suggesting that the Cardinals trade Albert Pujols? 

Yes.

But not to the degree that you may have initially thought.

Pujols is the best player in the game today.  Arguable, it is.  After all, Pujols is fending off National League pitching.  And we are confident that the AL is at least slightly stronger than the NL.

Should the Cardinals trade Pujols?  No, they don’t have to. 
Albert sells tickets.  Albert kills the ball.  And for my money, Albert
helps his team win games as much as anyone in baseball–and helps as
much as most that have ever played this fine game.

But it isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound the first time you read it. 

The Cardinals seem to avoid spending money.  They don’t seem like they
want to bring in anyone to help Pujols, and the rest of the team, via
free agency.  Kiss the division goodbye, not technically, but I cannot
see the Cardinals giving the Cubbies a run for the division title.

And I do believe that the Cards have the ability to sneak up on us and
remain competitive throughout the majority of the year.  But it seems
realistic that the Wild Card winner will need to earn 88+ wins. 

Can the Cardinals do this?  Can they win 88 games or more?

I don’t believe that they will be that good.

And that is short term of me, to only think about 2009.  Because Pujols
is under contract for the 2010 season, too.  And the Cardinals have a
$16 million team option for 2011, that will definitely be exercised
(unless Pujols floats away from the planet he has been on by himself
for the past few seasons). 

The St. Louis Cardinals have a strong Farm system.  So shooting for
contention, serious contention, is not unrealistic either in a year or
two.  After all; Colby Rasmus, Brett Wallace, and Daryl Jones shouldn’t
be too far away from joining the Big League club.  And all three of
those young guns are in Keith Law’s Top 50 prospects.  So offensive
help is on the way.

But the Cardinals cannot force those players to develop faster.  It
wouldn’t be the right approach, and of course very well may hinder
their development. 

Pujols has concerns, injury concerns.  And as far as I know, those
injuries haven’t subsided.  If my facts are correct, Pujols may need to
have surgery to completely repair the problem.  Hitting .355 last
season is a good sign that Pujols can play, but the injury is a reason
that the Cardinals are going to think twice about extending the
superstar’s contract to 6 or 7 seasons. 

Simply put, it just seems interesting to me, thinking about the kind of
package Pujols could bring back.  What kind of return?  How much
talent?  The return for Pujols, assuming that a team surrenders minor
leaguers, could potentially give the Cardinals the best farm system in
baseball.  Law has them ranked sixth as of now, so acquiring 3-4 more
prospects, with a few very good ones, could give this team loads of
talent in, say 2011. 

I don’t think Pujols should be traded, I simply think it should be
explored.  I often wonder how much the organization could benefit in
the long haul, if they did, in fact, entertain the idea. 

The Cardinals are against spending it seems, so they must rely on the
strength of their homegrowns/prospects going forward.  And this move
would certainly strengthen what could be a very strong, young core for
the future. 

But he IS Albert Pujols…  

7 Comments

I have to respectfully disagree with letting go of the best player in baseball. He makes everyone better, the greats always do, and he certainly seems willing to stay. At worst, I think you are not going to get the value necessary in return to give him up at a team-friendly contract for three years. Also, he did have surgery after the season on the elbow that bothered him last year. He’s good to go for opening day and now that he’s healthy…he’s that much scarier!
-Carl
http://crystalbaseball.mlblogs.com/

I don’t know how this came off, but I don’t think they should definitely trade him. I think they should explore the idea (if they haven’t already) and see what kind of return they can get.

In other sports we sometimes seeing players getting traded to teams, where they have a chance to win and the team that they are leaving gets playes that could help them in future years to put together a winning team. Joe – do you think that Pujols wants to be traded to a team where he has a chance of winning a pennant?

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

hey you know he did have a minor surgical procedure on his elbow last october to correct some nerve damage and it is hoped that this will alleviate the need for major correctional surgery.
if you recall no one gave the cards even a remote chance to do anything last year and at one point in august they had pulled within 1 1/2 games of the cubs before they slumped badly. i think it’s dangerous to under-estimate larussa and duncan. it certainly is a shame that ownership of such a storied franchise is so cheap – from what i have gathered all the seats are filled. i have to think they will keep pujols rather than risk alienation of the rabid fans

I did not know that about the surgery Mike, thanks. If the Cardinals aren’t going to be able to pay Pujols, or just don’t want to commit that much money to a single player, then they will want to explore the possibilities of what they can get for him. But they have three full seasons to think about this, the only thing about that is that if they are not going to be able to retain him, then they might want to trade him sooner and let the prospects develop so they themselves will be ready for 2011. But like I said, this is the best player in baseball we are talking about, it would be hard for the club to move him, he sells tickets AND is incredible. If this were a team that had no problem affording him, then no, they shouldn’t trade him.

i absolutely agree-i guess it’s just disappointing to me that a team as famous and popular and with so many championships has an ownership unwilling to spend whatever is necessary to put the best team possible on the field.

It makes sense to trade him, maybe in a year or 2 it will make more sense though. I don’t know much about the Pujols injury situation but here’s what I gather from people who know much more of it than me: a) he was hurt virtually all of last year (and won the MVP), b) he should be completely healthy in 2009, and c) a full year of healthy Albert Pujols extremely scary.

Looking into it though, the Cardinals don’t have a very logical trading partner for Pujols. At least at this point. Also, I think the only way the Cardinals overtake the Rangers farm-wise is if the Cardinals trade Pujols to the Rangers and grab a few blue-chips in their farm. The Rangers farm is just too stacked.

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