March 2010

The stupidest rumor ever: Pujols for Howard

If there were any truth to this rumor, is would be a fireable offense on the Cardinals side of things.

Rumors are just that, rumors.  Okay, I know that, you know that.  Pujols and Ryan Howard know that.  Everyone around baseball knows that.

But the thing is; why would this even be entertained?  Even if it were real, why would the Cardinals want to do this?

It would be one thing if say, the Cards were pessimistic getting an extension done with Pujols, who had a year left on his contract.  So they came up with this scenario where they could trade for Howard who has three years left on his agreement.

But that isn’t the scenario.  Pujols has one season at $16 million, and a club option for 2011 at another $16.

Howard on the other hand, will be paid $19 million in 2010, and $20 mill in 2011.

So what they would be doing is exchanging one of the greatest players ever, for an inferior but still good player, who is MORE expensive.

Granted, part of the reason this would be an option, is because Howard would be able to be extended for less money than Pujols, therefore, keeping him more in the Cardinals financial range.

So let us say, the trade goes through, and part of the agreement is that Howard will extend his contract a few extra seasons.  Maybe the Cardinals end up with Howard for five seasons vs. two with Pujols.

Maybe that makes it a little more understandable…

Except for this, as mentioned by someone on Twitter.  After 2011, Howard is a free agent.  Adrian Gonzalez is a free agent.  Prince Fielder is a free agent.  And the odds are, that one or more of those guys is actually STILL a free agent when the time rolls around.

So the Cardinals would be costing themselves wins for the time being, the next two years in particular.  And they would have an opportunity to address the 1B position anyway, as there will be so many options by that time.

So yea, this rumor seems even stupider when examined further.

Trade hometown hero, who is the best player on the planet.  And receive someone of the inferior, who is much more replaceable in the future.

It isn’t out of the question to trade Pujols if negotiations are going nowhere (Unless it is related to Matt Holliday in any way).  But it IS out of the question to ever make a trade like this.

Off with realignment’s head.

The idea of realignment in baseball has been floated around often, of late.  And quite frankly, it is nonsense.

Not that it is nonsense, in the sense that it couldn’t happen.  But that it is not needed.  The reason one considers the divisions being shifted, mixed and jolted, is because of the more urgent issue:  The Salary cap.

Major League Baseball would be trying to correct one problem, that is created because of another problem.  Why not just correct the first problem?

Well, it isn’t that easy.  I understand that.  The players will not give in without a fight, as they don’t want to lose out on having sushi seven nights a week.

I kid, I kid.

But seriously, the players will obviously fight it, as they will take the hit financially.

But the reason, that say, The Orioles, need to change divisions, at least in some people’s eyes, is because they cannot compete with the Red Sox and Yankees.  But this is because the Red Sox and Yankees have a load of money to spend, helping them (Not ensuring necessarily) find success.

The Orioles of course have money to spend, so I don’t really feel bad for them.  But when compared to the top payrolls in the game, they still fall well short.

Now, before I go any further, I must address the Rays.  The Rays are an example, in this particular division, that happen to have a small payroll and have competed in recent years.  They have competed, that is a fact.  Even won a division merely two seasons ago.

But they will run out of resources eventually.  As great as their system is now, they will eventually run out of great, upcoming talent.  The Red Sox and Yankees and can hide behind those “dry runs.”  But the Rays won’t be able to.  They will not always have Desmond Jennings’ waiting in the wings when Carl Crawford’s are about to leave.  They can make all the right decisions they want, but drafting lower, and sheer luck will hinder their ability to have a monstrous farm system at all times.

And trust me, their system will get worse.  And then it may get better again, but it WILL get worse.

The Red Sox don’t need to have a player waiting, although it is most logical to have this route as an option.  As much emphasis as they do, and should put on having a strong farm, they don’t need it to be as strong all the time, as smaller market teams do.

If they were to lose a Carl Crawford, they can go get another player that is close to his talent.  Whether it be at the same position, or at another position of need.

The Yankees can do the same thing, with even more ease.

So back to the subject at hand…Rather than shift all the divisions around, compromising even the smallest of rivalries, simply implement some kind of spending limit.  It doesn’t have to be a number that is accessible by EVERY team.  But it has to protect other teams from having to deal with the outliers.

For example, around $150 million would be a good “cap” for 2009.  And eventually, teams will feel more comfortable throwing more money at players, if they know they won’t be blown out of the water by large market teams.  With inflation, the “Cap” would go up, of course.  But that is inflation, as we know, not anything of the unfair sort.

Moving the Orioles out of the AL East is not the right decision.  Nor is it right to move anyone else around unless they are being moved because of their geography or whatever.  Fix the more important issue, and this “realignment” issue, given time, will fix itself.