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The Elephant In The Room

Posted on January 7, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
The beginning of January is always a dead time in baseball.  The free agents are mainly signed, with only a couple of second or third tier guys still out there.  Pitchers and catchers don't report for another few weeks, which means the baseball writers are getting their vacations in while they can.  What exactly is there to talk about?

Well, finally the Post-Dispatch, in the form of Joe Strauss, tossed out a nice topic.  Turns out that the big wigs in the front office are finally sitting down with the representatives of Albert Pujols.  That's enough to stir the pot that is the Cardinal internet.  For instance, you have Aaron Miles' Fastball, the newest entry to the UCB (though written by an old friend) trying to do that whole head vs. heart thing when it comes to the length of the contract.

That's a very legitimate point.  It boils down to whether you want to watch Albert Pujols, even if he's struggling with a huge contract and a rundown team around him or are much more interested in winning baseball, even if it means seeing Albert come to town in a Mets, Angels or...no, he'd never go to Chicago, would he?

Personally, I'm of the opinion you pay him, keep him, honor him, and worry about the future (to some degree) when it comes.  Sure, Albert won't be Albert when he's 39, most likely, but who's to say that salaries won't be to the level that $20 million is about right for his production?  Plus he's been underpaid for so long, it's worth a couple of down years to see him in Cardinal red for his entire career.

Bernie Miklasz seems to lean toward the positive side of things with this news, thinking that if both sides are trying for the same thing--a return of Albert to St. Louis--then that helps loads in getting a deal done.  I agreed with this on the latest UCB Radio Hour and I stick to my prediction, made back in October, that a deal gets done right before the Winter Warmup, so that Albert can be feted while all the fans are in town.

I feel confident this is going to get done.  What it is going to look like when it is all said and done, I don't know, but I don't see Albert going anywhere anytime soon.

Other quick bits from around the web:

*Jason from It's About The Money, Stupid, one of the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, has a neat graph on his blog today comparing WAR to OPS+ for the last 10 years.  You might guess a certain first baseman does pretty well in this.

*The gang over at Pitchers Hit Eighth hit a nice milestone today, throwing up post #600 with their normal class, tact, intelligence and skill.  Congrats, guys!

*The Cubs made a deal for Matt Garza today.  While that shouldn't jump them past the Cards, Brewers and Reds, it would seem to me to close the gap significantly, making the NL Central a competitive four-team race.  Tom over at CardinalsGM is, as always, on top of the story.

*Speaking of the UCB, we've now got a dedicated Twitter account at @utdcardbloggers.  You'll be able to see when members have posted, as some of our RSS feeds are going into that account, triggering a Tweet.  If you are reading Cardinal baseball and are on Twitter, you need to give it a follow.

*The Cardinals also made a couple of front office moves today, most notably promoting Michael Girsch to assistant GM.  Girsch comes from the analytic side of the front office, meaning that some of the discussions that we as bloggers had about the rift between old-school and new-school might have been a bit overblown.  How could that be possible?

*If you are missing your dose of me, check out CardsClubhouse.  In the forums over there, I've started a thread called Ask Cardinal70.  Anything (for the most part) is fair game and may or may not be answered seriously.  If you set up an account over there, please let me know when you do so I can get you activated.

As news breaks, well, better look to the news sites.  But I'll come around eventually to give you my take on it!


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Here's my one and only prediction regarding Phat Albert: if no extension is signed before ST, there will be no more Albert after the 2011 season. Just sayin'...

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Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
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Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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