NL Central Notes: Pujols, Oswalt, Pirates, LaHair

The Cardinals and their fans may still be celebrating Friday's World Series victory, but it won't be long before a pair of the club's most prominent members will face decisions on their futures. Cards president Bill DeWitt III spoke to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports about Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa, two men without contracts for 2012:

"I don't want to prognosticate at all, but in the next week or so we'll hear from [La Russa]…. Albert may take a little while, I guess…. Who knows? Maybe we'll get something done in the quiet period (during which teams are only permitted to negotiate with their own free agents). But if you've waited this long, you're probably going to see what's out there."

Here are the rest of the morning's notes and rumors from the NL Central:

  • Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is surprised by DeWitt's lack of urgency regarding Pujols, and wonders if it's a good idea to allow the slugger to be wooed by teams who may be more aggressive than the Cardinals.
  • Fielding Reds-related questions for the Dayton Daily News, Hal McCoy says it's unlikely that Cincinnati makes a play for Roy Oswalt.
  • The Pirates will likely look at second- or third-tier free agents, but they won't make a huge splash this winter, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Biertempfel says the Bucs will be shopping for a catcher, a first baseman, and starting pitching, naming Jason Varitek, Rod Barajas, Jeff Francis, and Chris Young as a few possible targets.
  • In a Twitter exchange, Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker and Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus discuss Bryan LaHair of the Cubs and former Pirates outfielder Lastings Milledge, two players being eyed by Japanese teams. Goldstein suggests the Cubs would like to hang on to LaHair, but hears rumblings that Milledge could sign in Japan as early as next week (all four Twitter links).

47 Responses to NL Central Notes: Pujols, Oswalt, Pirates, LaHair Leave a Reply

  1. Triple Hawpes Brewed 4 years ago

    Wonder if the WS title will convince Albert to stay in St. Louie…

  2. Tired_OF_FakeRumors 4 years ago

    Albert will stay with the cardinals, hes not lebron james or alex rodriguez. 

    • Dylan 4 years ago

      Why do people blame ARod and Lebron? Both had one thing on their mind…winning a championship. And they put themselves in the best place to do so. If I was Alex, I wouldn’t have signed back with the Rangers either…they were awful. (I think last place every year he was there.)

      Yes, the situation is different. Pujols is on a very good team…even better next year with Wainwright and another possible pitcher (Oswalt). I think the team may have been even better off with Holliday, but that’s not an option. I think there is a good chance he stays, but you can guarentee if the Cards were sporting a 72-90 record this year there would be a 0% chance he comes back.

      • fitz 4 years ago

        “Why do people blame ARod and Lebron? Both had one thing on their mind…winning a championship


      • stl_cards16 4 years ago

        Alex Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees……….

        • Dylan 4 years ago

          My bad, how could I forget. So, that further proves my point. Yes, he opted out of his contract to get more money, but anyone would do the same if they could at their job (I know I would)

          • jwsox 4 years ago

            In all reality he opted out for more years

      • jwsox 4 years ago

        Don’t forget about arod. He signed with the rangers and was traded to the Yankees. He didn’t leave Texas and sign with them. That why Texas was glad to have him opt out a few years back because it meant less of the 250 million dollar contract he signed originally with the rangers was still being paid to him.

  3. Now that Albert has another ring I could definitely see him going to the highest bidder.  If he was truly intent on staying in St. Louis he would have signed by now.

    • The chances of Albert leaving St. Louis are almost Zero IMO.

      • Dylan 4 years ago

        Why? I would say he is about 60% going to stay, but you have to remember almost every team is interested in Albert. He may stay in St. Louis, but I wouldn’t say that there is a 0% chance he leaves.

        I hope he stays because players like him, Jeter, Mo, and Chipper are good for the game, especially during the Free Agent Era.

        •  He stays because he is with a great organization & a great team. Been to the playoffs 7 of 10 years, 3 World Series appearances & 2 RINGS!!!!  What other teams can bragg those numbers???? NONE…. and he will still get paid BIG $$$$$$.

          • Vmmercan 4 years ago

            Yankees- playoffs 9 out of 10 years, three WS and one ring in that span.
            Red Sox – playoffs 6 out of 10 years, two WS and two rings.
            Phillies – playoffs 5 out of 10 years, two WS and one ring.

            Cardinals are one of the better franchises in the game but let’s not pretend they have some sort of unprecedented run of success in the last decade.

          • Was shooting from the hip…. But thanks for correcting me. All 3 major markets with 150 Million plus $$$$ payrolls. But you have just reinforced my position. The St. Louis Cardinals are in the same class as The Yankees & the Red Sox. No reason for Albert Pujols to go anywhere.

          • St. Louis Cardinals: 3 world series and 2 rings in that same decade and 6 playoff appearances.

        • MetsMagic 4 years ago

          Every team? I can’t see the Red Sox, Royals, Pirates, Rays, Mets, Yankees, Braves, or Reds going after him. If the Cards let their 3-time MVP, two time World Champion Hall of Famer walk, the fans would riot. 

        • jb226 4 years ago

          Every team wants him, few teams can afford him — especially if we’re defining “afford him” as “offer significantly more than St. Louis.”  Of those that can, most have lots of large contracts including elite first basemen.  I don’t see the usual suspects (Yankees/Red Sox) getting into it except perhaps to drive up the price.

          I’m just not sure that there is enough viable interest to drive the price up significantly. If Albert is the kind of guy who will take a contract with an extra dollar tacked on, yeah, maybe he’ll leave.  I don’t get that impression though.  I feel like it will need to be substantially more valuable to be considered and I’m just not sure where it would come from.

          Nothing is guaranteed, but I’d put the odds of him staying in St. Louis to be considerably more than 60%.

    • stl_cards16 4 years ago

      What line of thinking brings you to the thought that winning the World Series increases the chances Albert goes to another team?  You think he cares less about winning now?

      • Travis White 4 years ago

        When you are already going to get like 230 million, is it worth it to get another ten and leave the city where your family, friends, and charity foundation are? I’d take ten less to remain a god than ten more and look like a d-bag for leaving

        • stl_cards16 4 years ago

          I agree.  Not sure what that has to do with my comment though.

          • Travis White 4 years ago

            I do apologize, comment section police. Although we were both talking about it being ludicrous for him to leave now, maybe it wasn’t directly related enough. I bow to your authority

          • stl_cards16 4 years ago

            I don’t care where you put it and it is relevant to the topic of the thread. I just didn’t know if you took my post the wrong way or something and thought we had a different view.

          • Travis White 4 years ago

            nope. just agreeing with you

  4. omg pujols is a free agent! hes gonna cost like 400million

  5. sox2727 4 years ago

    Did I miss something because last time I checked A-Roid was TRADED to the Yankees…

    • And then opted out of his contract and signed a new huge deal with the Yankees a couple years ago. It’s one of the most relevant situations for Pujols.

  6. MetsMagic 4 years ago

    Why is everyone talking about King Albert? The real news is Blastings Thrilledge is departing for the orient. It was nice knowing you, kid. 

    • Pete 4 years ago

      I wonder why he never got a real shot to succeed? He was rushed to the bigs then traded every year for some reason…kind of hope he figures it all out finally and goes all Cecil Fielder in JP so he can come back.

      • MetsMagic 4 years ago

        Just another example of the Minaya administration stunting player development. I could wax poetic about their mishaps, but Milledge was clubhouse cancer, so good riddance to him .

        • Lastings 4 years ago

          He turned the corner though (attitude), but it was too late. When you come up and are labeled, it is hard to shed it unless you produce. He got better in 2007 and I will never understand that Mets trade.

          • MetsMagic 4 years ago

            That trade never really worked out for the Nats either. It looked good for the Mets but Church and Schneider were often injured. 

          • Lastings 4 years ago

            Lastings had a nice 2008 season and looked like he was starting to put things together. Acta sort of screwed up by having Lastings in CF and lead-off. Two positions that he really can’t handle. Also Lastings didn’t help himself by saying, “I’m doing things my way, I’m not listening to the coaches anymore…”

  7. tomymogo 4 years ago

    You know what, Cardinals should let Albert walk. They have Berkman already signed for next year, and David Freese might become a 1B in the future. Pujols is awesome no doubt, but you want an A-rod situation, sooner or later injuries will come in his late 30’s, you really want to pay him 25 million in his declining years.

    What I would do, sign Jason Kubel and platoon him with Allen Craig in RF, while playing Berkman in 1B. Pick Dotel’s option, sign Javier Lopez, and Roy Oswalt.

    • Is this is Joke? Please tell me you are a Cub fan.

      • tomymogo 4 years ago

        no. I understand it’s a hard decision, but look at the facts. In the post steroid era, from age 35 and on they simply aren’t super stars anymore. I understand this is Albert Pujols we’re talking about, he is not normal, but I think the most comparable case to his is Alex Rodriguez.

        A-Rod’s lastest contract came after his 2007 season at age 32 a year older than Pujols right now. A-Rod started his career at age 19, took steroids, and entered his free agent season having hit 54 homers in the 2007 season and a career 518 HR. Signed a 10 year 275 million deal that could be worth 300 million. Since he signed that deal, had 35 HR in 2008, 30 in 2009, 30 in 2010, and 16 in 2011 at age 36. It’s a fact, his performance doesn’t remotely deserve the money he is getting, and his age is a direct result of why he isn’t the same player.

        Pujols enters his FA year at 31 years with 445 career HR and a 1037 OPS. He deserves more money per year than A-Rod since he enters FA a year younger and his performance in the playoff is better. A-Rod’s case is an example of what teams shouldn’t do, pay a player based on what they’ve done and not on what they will do.

        Unlike the Yankees, Cardinals have limited resources, and they simply cannot afford giving Pujols that type of contract.

        • Replace AP with those 3 scrubs!!!!! LOL

          • tomymogo 4 years ago

            Even without Pujols, Cardinals have a bunch of firepower. Pujols will have a salary between 25-30 million, Oswalt would be around 8-10, Kubel 5-7, Lopez 3-4, and Dotel 3.75 million. Pujols salary would be the equivalent of 4 solid players.

            SS Rafael Furcal
            CF Jon Jay
            1B Lance Berkman
            LF Matt Holliday
            3B David Freese
            RF Jason Kubel/Allen Craig
            C   Yadier Molina
            2B Ryan Theriot/Shumacker

            SP Chris Carpenter
            SP Adam Wainwright
            SP Roy Oswalt
            SP Jaime Garcia
            SP Kyle Lohse or Jake Westbrook

            that would be 2012, but not signing Pujols will allow St Louis to have flexibility in the following years.

          •  The Cardinals do not need a starting pitcher…………………………….. All 5 spots are accounted for. And I don’t know anybody who wants Kubel or Lopez. They should be free!!!! LOL

          • tomymogo 4 years ago

            Lopez is off the table, 2 yrs 8.5 million. Steep if you ask me. It’s to bad, because with Larrusa’s style of play he would have fit right in.

            That’s the weak spot of the Cardinals. They don’t need one, if Wainwright comes back perfectly healthy. I’d say their only weakness is starting pitching.

          • You do know that the Cardinals led the league in starter ERA this past season without Wainwright don’t you? Just saying.

          • tomymogo 4 years ago

            That’s impossible. They were 8th in the league overall, and I need proof on the starters thing since I seriously doubt they were over Philly who had 3 CY Young candidates, a ROY candidate, and Roy Oswalt. Braves, Giants, also come to mind.

        • I think you are in for dissappointment if you think AP is going to leave St. Louis.

          • tomymogo 4 years ago

            No I don’t think so really, I’m just saying that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he does

    • Something I would be concerned about if I was a cardinals fan is if they do get Pujols back then how much is that hurting my chances of being able to sign other players to support and protect him from getting a billion walks.  I know they have some guys in place for a few more years but honestly. I think it will really strap them down for the life of the contract.  Who knows maybe he is not Brandon Phillips and will take a home boy discount haha..

  8. In that same decade.

  9. Jumsy 4 years ago

    With the recent postseason revenues, the Cardinals should be able to increase payroll for next season.  Once 2012 is over, there is about 19M coming off the books in bad SP contracts (Lohse & Westbrook).  Once they are gone, bring in Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn to the rotation and you can still pay Pujols a 10M dollar increase to his current salary, and still have another 9M leftover to fill the other spots.  Once Berkman’s deal is over and he retires, Allen Craig will be the everyday RF along with Holliday and Jay.  This year, you are also dropping approximately 7M off of payroll for Skip and Theriot and that should easily cover Furcal.  I can see the Cardinals possibly using Craig at 2nd some days and Descalso there as well.  I can see Schumaker taking less money and returning to a utility role.  Tony Cruz will be the backup C which will offset provide another .5M compared to Laird.  The big raises for the club come from Wainwright and Molina, but Carpenter took a cut in pay for another year under contract.  I can also see Pujols contract having some deferred money in it as well.  I don’t really think there will be a problem getting a deal done.  You have to remember, the Cardinals made the offer this spring to Pujols with the mindset they were going to extend Rasmus for a few years, and now that Rasmus is gone, that money can be used elsewhere.

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