Pujols has always been an odd case. He came to the majors in 2001, immediately mashed, and proceeded to put up an unprecedented resume during his first 10 years in the show. However, in this age of advanced stats and implied cynicism, Pujols was viewed as almost a risk this offseason. As white writers are to do regarding latino ballplayers, his age (31) is being brought into question. His still absurd production (.305/.392/.567 the last two years) has fallen off in comparison to the rest of his career (.328/.420/.617).
Moreso than anything else, watching Alex Rodriguez languish (.241/.349/.379) over the least two years while bringing home $55 million have made GM's and fans weary of spending mass amounts of scrilla on a player that while great, may be making two or three times his actual worth halfway and during the latter part of his contract. And lets not forget...unlike the Yankees, the Cardinals do not have unlimited capital to spend on the rest of their roster. Every dollar Pujols take is a dollar that cannot be spent to upgrade the weak bottom third of their lineup, their patchwork rotation or their bullpen.
So anyway, let's say Pujols and the Cardinals capture their second World Series title in the last six seasons. Who has more leverage? It's a legitimate argument that Ed and I discussed for a solid 20 minutes, throwing out pros and cons for both sides, while failing to reach a definitive resolution. What say you?
Cards have leverage:
- Basically the LeBron precedent. Any athlete that leaves his hometown (tho a native of the Dominican, Pujols went to HS in Independence, MO) will be vilified among the media and fans. Is this actually a detriment to elite athletes? Who the fuck knows. If you know any, ask them.
- Again, the Cards have won two World Series in six years. Does Pujols really want to leave this stable situation, the only he's ever known, for an extra $30 mil and the opportunity to play with Starlin Castro, the old farts the Angels trot out nightly, or Kemp/Kershaw/23 bums?
Pujols has leverage:
- Game 3, the best hitter of his generation, the best player leading his team to three pennants in eight seasons.
- Have you seen the rest of the Cardinals roster? Who the fuck is replacing Pujols? You're basically relegating yourselves to the Brewers-Rays-Indians-Rockies level of teams that are content to lose top notch free agents for a couple of draft choices. Yes, I am an outsider fan, but here's guessing the Cards view themselves as more of a Yanks/Sox organization than a Twins/DBacks team.
So that's it...if the Braves had been able to hold on to an ABSURD ASS 3 GAME LEAD WITH 4 GAMES REMAINING we wouldn't even be having this hypothetical, troll-like discussion. However, here we are. Ignore all the irrelevant garbage coming out there about Pujols. The next two games will decide the not only the World Series, but the future of an organization and one of the greatest hitters of all time.