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What Should St. Louis Do?
February 8, 2011 - Al Stephenson
The St. Louis Cardinals have the best player in baseball under contract - for the coming year. Albert Pujols is looking for a new contract and has given the Cardinals until Feb. 16 to offer him one. If one is not forthcoming by the time Pujols heads for spring training (presumably the 16th), negotiations supposedly will cease and the first baseman will become a free agent at the end of the season.
By the way, Pujols is looking for a contract that will pay him some $300,000,000 over ten years!
Now there are some that would say he is worth that much since he is the best player in the game, the face of the franchise, as impressive off the field as on, etc... I would not disagree with that.
There are others that say no one single player is worth anywhere near that kind of money. I would not disagree with that either.
So what should the Cardinals do? Their options are simple. Pay him the money and hope to surround him with enough talent to produce a winner. Or let him go. Save the money and spend it on several players that could ultimately and hopefully make the Cardinals competitive.
The view from my seat suggests that St. Louis is between the proverbial rock and a hard place. They are darned if you do and darned if you don't. One man cannot win baseball games by himself. On the other hand few teams win world championships without a star player.
My suggestion and what I think will eventually happen is that Albert Pujols will remain a Cardinal for the rest of his career. They will continue to win, but only after Albert restructures his megabucks contract to pull in some more talent in a couple of years.
The deal will take place if for no other reason than this. Witness (I couldn't resist) the Cleveland Cavaliers without LeBron!
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