Discussion: Is A Howard-Pujols Swap Realistic?

The Phillies organization has internally discussed proposing a swap of Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols, sources tell Buster Olney of ESPN.  Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro shot the notion down, saying, "That's a lie.  I don't know who you're talking to, but that's a lie."  Olney stresses that it is not fully clear whether the Phillies have actually approached the Cardinals with the idea.

Both sluggers are 30 years-of-age and both are eligible for free agency following the 2011 season.  Pujols is owed $16MM in each of the next two seasons.  Howard, meanwhile, is set to make $19MM in 2010 and $20MM the following year.  While Pujols comes at a slightly cheaper rate in the next couple of years he (in all likelihood) would cost more to retain than Howard.

Olney points out that Howard is a St. Louis native, meaning that the Cards may be able to sell their fans on such a deal.  However, the Cardinals faithful have more or less adopted their three-time NL MVP, who is entering his 10th big league season with the club.

While owner Bill DeWitt wants to keep Pujols in red and white for life, an A-Rodesque $275MM deal might not be financially prudent for the organization.  One has to wonder if the Cardinals will have to consider trading their megastar.  If so, could a deal centered around Ryan Howard make sense?

264 Responses to Discussion: Is A Howard-Pujols Swap Realistic? Leave a Reply

  1. jwsox 5 years ago

    didnt the holliday deal have a ton of money differed for like 15 years so that way they can have solid protection locked up and still have flexibility? My guess is depending on how the cards do in the post season in the next few years Albert does take a home town discount. He has said ever since signing his huge deal hat is about to end. “its not about money its about winning again” He was out there saying he has his money now he wants to win. With differed money deal becoming more and more popular i bet he take a long term deal with them 5+ yrs at something like 15 mill a season, then gets a huge chunk differed for after the 5yrs are over, much like hollidays or even todd heltons recent deal.

  2. jwsox 5 years ago

    I bet that neither player stay their entire career on their teams, They pull a griffey and come back to their start franchise for a season or two at the end. But i bet both of them (albert more likely) stay in the NL for 4 yrs then spend 3-4 in the AL as DH(assuming they simply dont want to retire) then go home for a season or two to end it where it started.. I will say this though, neither has a violent swing, both are very smooths, sweet and nice to watch. Albert uses his legs more where as Ryan uses his whole body more, thus makign alberts swing a bit better, but neither has a back breaking swin like morneu so they will both be around for a while

  3. counciltucky 5 years ago

    Next up: The Cardinals and Angels are discussing a deal that would ship Adam Wainwright to Anaheim for a package centered around Nick Adenhart.

    • jwsox 5 years ago

      dude come on…too soon…way too soon….we all know it would be a straight up deal for wainwright for lackey ha…but come on dude dont go that low to bring adenhart in…not cool bro.

      • counciltucky 5 years ago

        (Oops — I hit “like” instead of “reply”)

        Perhaps it’s too soon — I admit I have a dark sense of humor — but my point of it being a ridiculous deal still stands.

    • NYBravosFan10 5 years ago

      i totally did not mean to “like” that but I think you may want to edit this post bud…

    • DUDE that’s not cool it’s too soon.

  4. Rasmanian_Devil 5 years ago

    Even if the Cardinals decided to bite the bullet and pull the trigger on a Pujy trade, they’d be better served to wait for A-Gon to get moved to set the market. Granted, that may take the BoSox (or another obvious suitor) out of the running, but something tells me AL teams would be lining up to take their shot.

  5. markjsunz 5 years ago

    Buster Olney is more full of c**p then a thanksgiving turkey.

  6. Holy_Roman_Emperor 5 years ago

    This is the funniest/stupidest/most-absurd article I’ve ever read on this site.

    0 % chance this happens……………… Just let the season start already.

    But if it DID happen…………………. The STL fanbase would REVOLT. Pujols IS the face of the franchise and he basically is a human embodiment of St. Louis at this point. I guarantee the STL fans would never accept this, no matter how well Ryan Howard produced. Pujols dominates the game in the way only perhaps 5 or 6 other athletes have been able to do with their respective sports in all of recent history….(Jordan, Ruth, Woods, Gretzky.)

    Even if Ryan Howard did come here for Pujols, he would be stuck with that awful burden of being “that guy who was traded for Pujols,” and he would never be able to totally fill those shoes. Despite Howard being from STL, the fan base would always keep it in the back of their minds that they lost Pujols to get this guy. No amount of production from Howard could reconcile the loss of Pujols(provided Pujols keeps up his current level of production.) In any case, even Howard + good prospects would not be worth it.

    Howard benefits from playing in a hitters park and batting in a loaded lineup. His defense is shambles compared to the defense that Pujols provides. And the difference between the 2 with regards to strikeouts and BA…………. Pujols puts Howard to shame. They aren’t even close talent-wise. Even throwing in, say, Utley and Happ would not even make the deal palatable.

    Howard will give you roughly 10 more HR’s a year, and 10 more RBI’s than Pujols, and how much of that is thanks to the difference in stadiums/lineups? Pujols routinely excells Howard in nearly every other positive statistical category. Pujols’s leadership and character quality is off the charts as well and is by itself worth several mil.

    I’d rather make every effort to sign him. That way if he walks, it would be easier to digest(greed,) than if we just threw up our hands in resignation and gave him away without even trying. If Pujols turned down a good or fair offer from the Card’s FO, it would be much easier to swallow than if we were just ridiculously outbid by a club like Boston. If Pujols merely wants to go like a mercenary to somewhere that throws an absurdly bloated deal that STL can’t match, then he can go for all I care.

    I feel almost totally confident though that Pujols will be a Cardinal for life.

    • PHLPVD 5 years ago

      Oh come on. I know Pujols is one of the best to ever play the game but saying getting Howard, Utley, and Happ for him is still a bad deal is a little ridiculous. Utley and Howard alone give you enough wins to make up for Albert even without another player thrown in and without even considering the fact that Utley is locked up at a good price for a few more years. It’s almost impossible to overvalue Albert Pujols but I would say you did.

      All that said, naturally I agree that Pujols and Howard are in different leagues and that Buster Olney is talking nonsense.

      • BoSoxSam 5 years ago

        What he is doing there is making a point by throwing out a crazy trade suggestion to prove how valuable Pujols is to St. Louis. Yes, wins-value wise, plus any other way you throw it, Utley+Howard would be better to have on your team than Pujols. He’s saying that because of the all-around talent that Pujols is, the fact that players like Pujols come around every…never, and because of his HUGE impact on the fanbase, there is no way that St. Louis could trade him, EVEN for Utley/Howard. Sure, maybe they’re worried about free agency, but I think they’re going to have to bite the bullet on this one, and let him go to FA if he wants, and bid their darndest. Plus, for Utley/Howard, St. Louis doesn’t really save much (even if it’s a bit more bang for your buck on the field) compared to just signing Pujols to a huge deal. Plus with all the fans that Pujols alone draws in, it’s financially more prudent in that situation to keep Pujols.

        Unless you can find a couple Evan Longorias or Adrian Gonzalez’s (with more years left than AGon though) that a team is willing to trade for Pujols, I can’t really see any way around it that St. Louis would ever be interested in such a trade.

        • PHLPVD 5 years ago

          Yeah, I definitely agree with your assessment. Maybe the previous poster was just throwing out crazy suggestions, but I have seen enough people mention a Pujols for Utley+Howard swap in this thread that I felt like I shouldn’t defend those two, at least from a purely statistical standpoint. The intangibles definitely make it impossible for St. Louis to trade Pujols; I’m just saying that if I was putting together a winning team and I had to pick between getting Pujols and neither Utley or Howard or getting Utley and Howard but not Pujols, I’d go with the latter option (provided of course another superstar second baseman wasn’t in the picture to complement Albert).

          Anyway, such a trade makes as little, if not less, sense for the Phillies. Sure, we’d be upgrading at first base by a lot, but the infield overall would be weaker. And just like St. Louis, we’d be trading away the soul of our team.

    • gocrazy 5 years ago

      I can not agree more. Even if there was a trade that made baseball sense the backlash would be unbelievable. No matter who they got in the trade they lose so much in ticket sales it might be better to let him walk.

  7. blackcracks 5 years ago

    The Cardinals are INTERNALLY discussing this deal, too, except that the Phillies are offering Hamels and Halliday along with Howard, and the Cards are offering Jason LaRue.

    • Triteon 5 years ago

      We’re not trading Mudflap! The nickname is as valuable to the team as Brendan Ryan’s mustache. :)

  8. WILLIAMDWYER 5 years ago

    Hey, it makes a great story, and of course would rile up the Philly faithful into talking about this all year. Unfortunately I doubt very highly Pujols goes for JUST Howard. Yes I know they are both power 1B’s. But the difference in Puljols and Howard is vast and clear. Even from just a PR stance. Howard could be considered part of the face of the Phillies. Yet Puljols alone is arguably the face of MLB. This is one of those trades that may look fine on paper from a one year PHI point of view. But STL would be in an uproar.

    NTM, their AVG and OBP are night and day, and for the immediate future Howard would cost more. While Puljols would cost more tin the long run, he has stated he is going to test FA. So it doesn’t matter where he goes, he is going FA. I doubt VERY highly the Phillies would trade Howard + just for a rent of Puljols. And I doubt very highly that Puljols accepts an extension before FA. Sorry Philly fans, don;t even bother.

  9. aquanarc6 5 years ago

    This trade might make sense if Pujols wasn’t twice the player Howard is.

  10. jrollpatrol08 5 years ago

    i agree with everyone on here….this trade is actually realistic if you look at it and could potentially benefit both parties

  11. jrollpatrol08 5 years ago

    but seriously now…..IF ryan howard signs a longer term deal in the NL, it will be with the phillies. his body type and defensive mediocrity is MUCH more destined for the AL DH role than is the specimen of albert pujols. So, as a phillies fan, i would love to resign ryan howard, but if mgmt is hesitant to fork out 100mil for 4 years of him…i can sort of, kind of, maybe slightly stomach it…kinda like the lee deal…i want to keep em, but sometimes the business part (prospects w lee, money w howard) interfere with the FAN part. if howard doestn resign he’ll get a nice contract from the angels or whitesox or whoever misses out on adrian.

    i just dont understand how stl can even begin to talk about money in regards to pujols monster contract. if this is the case, why fork out all that money on holliday???? it really doestn make sense to me…i could easily see pujols w the cards for life, but the holliday investment sure makes it an interesting financial decision for the cards…i dont get it…they were a contender w/out matt holliday. they will not contend without albert pujols

    • BoSoxSam 5 years ago

      I agree, that especially because Holliday, it’s hard to believe that the factor for a crazy trade like this would have to be stl being worried about money. However, I think it is -because- of the Holliday deal that they’re having this problem…and I also agree that the holliday investment is questionable for St. Louis. Holliday is a good player, but he might handcuff them in their proceedings with Pujols, the best player in the majors.

  12. stlouieJ 5 years ago

    You don’t trade a player like Albert…EVER. A player of his caliber comes along once in a lifetime. Pujols is the face of the franchise and the face of St. Louis. The fans here worship him. With the FO so concerned with making money, trading him or not resigning him would be a terrible business decision even if it costs the FO an A-Rod contract. He’s well-worth it.

  13. melonis_rex 5 years ago

    IF there were to be ANY reason for Pujols to hit the open market/be traded, then Mozeliak should be fired immediately.

    No way you commit 120MM to Holliday if that would remotely put the club’s ability to keep Pujols at risk.

  14. Andy_B 5 years ago

    Ok obviously Pujols for Howard is a ridiculous suggestion, but how about Pujols and Schumaker for Howard and Utley? I’m as die hard as a cards fan as you can get and I don’t know if I’d say no to that trade.

    • Muggi 5 years ago

      There’s the problem…that doesn’t make the Phils a better team IMO.

      Pujols is great, but the only way the Phils improve is to have Utley-Pujols in the lineup. That’s why this will never happen.

      • Andy_B 5 years ago

        It’s all speculation, Pujols will retire a cardinal, trading him would be up there with trading Babe Ruth for cash. I’m just commenting about who would win in that trade for overall talent.

  15. prestonflood 5 years ago

    This is a misleading rumor. The reported story is that the Phillie’s talked about whether or not they could trade for Albert. Yeah everybody else with a payroll north of 60 million has thought about whether or not they could trade for Albert. This is a non-story and frankly it’s irresponsible for Buster Olney to report this knowing full well that it is not a plausible rumor. He obviously has been spending all his time doing drugs, drinking, gambling or hookers. Because what he hasn’t been doing is thorough investigative journalism. The ESPN guys came to him and said hey you haven’t been at work in a week what have you been doing. He felt the need to invent some fantastical rumor that he’s been investigating in order to cover up for not doing his job.

  16. So which is it…You can only enjouy babseball when the Yanks win it (once in 10 years), or i need to get life? You are very contradictory in your posts..

    “enjoy watching the Yanks win it all this year”

    Or I am a jealous loser cause my team didnt win it 1 of the last 10 years? Which is it?

    Keep posting.

    Keep making yourself out to be an ignorant ass.

    One question. When the Yanks didnt win anything the 9 years previous to this past season, were you some loser cheering for a losing team? Or does your own logic not apply to you?

    Cause if it does, wouldnt that make you a jealous loser 9 of the last 10????

    Keep posting ARod….

  17. protech76 5 years ago

    This post has to be the most idiotic one i have seen. There is not one human being in the Cardinals FO, willing to put his name next to a Albert Pujols trade. Not only the athlete, but just as much so as him being the part of St. Louis that he is. It’s a career suicide move and idea. St. Louis would burn to the ground! Plain and Simple!

  18. revpauld 5 years ago

    I’m not surprised the Phillies have had this discussion internally. If you were in their position–that is, have a very popular player with a very big contract who’s going to be a FA after next season–wouldn’t you be looking at all possible solutions to that problem? From the Phillies side of the equation, they may be saying, “Look, if we’re going to have to pay more than $20 million per year long term, wouldn’t we rather have a Pujols who might still be playing at a high level a few years from how instead of Howard, whose body type suggests he’ll begin to decline in a couple of years?” The problem is that the Cardinals would not trade Pujols for Howard straight up, and the more the Phillies would have to add to sweeten the deal, the less attractive it would become for them. The thing that makes this rumor interesting at all is the fact that Howard is from St. Louis, and he might be the only one the Cardinals could trade Pujols for who the St. Louis fans would end up embracing.

  19. studio179 5 years ago

    I don’t see a Pujols for Howard package happening. Then again, if Pujols asks for terms that the Cards can not match, they have no other choice than to explore a trade. My feeling is Albert stays. Until it gets done, anything can happen.

  20. bobstanford 5 years ago

    I can totally see this deal going down. Howard will give you 45+ homeruns a season, and pujols will only give about 40. It’s soo worth it. As a cardinals fan i’m totally down for this deal =] Go Howard! He’s my favorite first baseman

  21. slr5607 5 years ago

    there is nobody in baeball worth trading Albert Pujols. I think that you would see 8 of an soild organization’s top 10 prospects to get the cardinals talking. Ryan Howard would be nowhere close to enough.

  22. besttradever 5 years ago

    Not seeing it happen. Cards wouldn’t accept it. Maybe, on my side, Phils would give up a little more, like Hamels or a few prospects. I’d get a kick out of it if it did happen. Ha

  23. typical arrogant and ignorant Yanks fan…Did you have fun watching baseball the last 10 years, or just last year when the Yanks won???? According to your logic, you didnt watch or like base the previous 9 years when they Yanks didn’t win right?

    So arrogant, so dumb…yet so expected…..A title every 10 years is quite successful considering thier “budget”….actually as a fan, that would be most embarassing..1 title in 10 years…most $$ spent by a LANDSLIDE every year…

    I will enjoy another great season of baseball…you?

    Thanks for continuing to give all YANKS fans a terrible image…

  24. salaguato 5 years ago

    not all yankees fans think that way …. cuz i sure dont i think pujols isnt worthy of utley howard no matter how good

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