Cardinals Rumors: Pujols, Payroll, Needs

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the latest Cardinals buzz…

  • The Cards are going to stand pat with their starting rotation until they learn more about Chris Carpenter‘s injury.  He’ll be examined in late November.  Strauss says a swing man type acquisition is possible as insurance.
  • The Cardinals are likely to approach Albert Pujols about an extension before he enters his 2011 option year.  Pujols will earn just $16MM in each of the ’09, ’10, and ’11 seasons.  Teams must be salivating at the prospect of Pujols on the free agent market, but the Cardinals will try to prevent that.  Pitchers Hit Eighth recently did a roundtable about this very topic.
  • The ’09 payroll is projected in the $106-108MM range.  The Cardinals have $20MM+ to spend, with the exact number depending on several arbitration cases.
  • The Cardinals need middle infielders and lefthanded relievers.  Strauss says, "The club prefers to deal from its surplus of righthanded relievers, outfielders, minor-league pitching and corner infielders."  I have argued about this in chats a bit…is there really a surplus here?  To me a surplus in baseball means more starters than positions (rather than just good depth).  The Cards have a starting outfield of Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel, and Skip Schumaker, with Colby Rasmus coming on fast.  Rasmus will be a rookie, while Ankiel is a Boras client eligible for free agency after ’09.  There are other interesting players on the roster (Brian Barton, Joe Mather, Chris Duncan), but the Cards aren’t overflowing with starters.
  • Viva El Birdos contests the idea of a surplus of righty relievers, and would like to see Russ Springer re-signed.
  • Strauss says the Cardinals have yet to talk to the agents for Cesar Izturis and Felipe Lopez.  He sees players such as Rafael Furcal and Khalil Greene as possible middle infield targets.

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