Now that Matt Holliday has signed
a seven-year, $120 million deal with the Cardinals, where does that leave Albert Pujols?
Though the three-time National
League Most Valuable Player might command as much as $25 million a year,
Cardinals ownership seems confident that it will have enough money left to
negotiate an extension with Pujols, who has one year and then a club option year
left on his contract.
To do that, the club might have to
commit as much of 40 percent of its payroll to two players for a half dozen or
"The key is to have enough
pre-arbitration players to go with the mature players," club president Bill
DeWitt III said. "We feel like we can manage that."
Club chairman Bill DeWitt Jr.
said, "I think it's unusual to have that opportunity," referring to the
Cardinals being able to give Holliday a large contract, only to have to top it
with a prospective pact for Pujols.
"You see it in the big markets
that can go out and do it through free agency. We didn't do it that way. Albert
was a draft pick. We got Holliday in a deal and retained him. If you look at our
history, that's how it's typically happened."
Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds and
Scott Rolen all signed lucrative contracts with the Cardinals after having been
acquired by the club in trades.
Retaining Holliday, who drove in
55 runs and hit .353 in 63 games with the Cardinals, meant that the Cardinals
joined the Yankees and Mets as the only clubs with two $100 million players.
Pujols is in the later stages of a $100 million, seven-year
The mid-market club, at least as
far as population and television market are concerned, also has a $63.5 million
player in Chris Carpenter, who has two years left on his five-year
--The signing of LF Matt Holliday
seemed to preclude the Cardinals signing a veteran infielder to play third base,
such as Miguel Tejada or Felipe Lopez. Both are reportedly interested in
multiyear contracts, so rookie David Freese, a St. Louisan, is the leading
candidate for the job. With the re-signing of Holliday, Freese wouldn't have to
move up in the lineup. He might instead be a seventh- or eighth-place
--Holliday, citing the impact that
CF Jim Edmonds had with the Cardinals in the eight seasons he wore No. 15 for
them, has decided not to wear that number this season. He inherited the number
last year. This season he will wear No. 7 instead. Holliday wore No. 5 before
coming to St. Louis, but he said, "I offered Albert
(Pujols) a watch. Apparently, he has one already."
--The Cardinals are searching for
a veteran right-handed reliever to take some of the load from RHP Ryan Franklin,
the team's closer, who tired at times late last season.
--Concerns about the Cardinals'
bench are legitimate. So far, the only proven extra men on the roster are backup
INF Julio Lugo and C Jason LaRue. The Cardinals are looking for left-handed
punch off the bench and might be interested in OF Ryan Church.
BY THE NUMBERS: $47.5 million --
Combined salaries of LF Matt Holliday, 1B Albert Pujols and RHP Chris Carpenter
for next season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I can't think of a
better combo in baseball. You may just have to walk both of them." -- RHP Adam Wainwright, on the Cardinals' 1-2 punch of 1B Albert Pujols and LF Matt
The Cardinals didn't have many
needs as the season ended although they probably could use one more veteran
starting pitcher to go with RHPs Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse. RHPs Joel Pineiro and Todd Wellemeyer, who filled out the rotation, both
likely will be gone as free agents.
BIGGEST NEEDS: Third base becomes
a question mark with Mark DeRosa having left as a free
ARRIVAL: RHP Brad Penny (free
agent from Giants).
DEPARTURES: RHP Brad Thompson
(released, signed minor league deal with Royals), INF Joe Thurston (free agent,
signed minor league deal with Braves), 3B Troy Glaus (free agent, signed with
Braves), INF Mark DeRosa (free agent, signed with Giants).
FREE AGENTS: RHP Joel Pineiro, RHP
Todd Wellemeyer, RHP John Smoltz, INF Khalil Greene, OF Rick
The Cardinals have some interest
in Smoltz. The others probably are gone.
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: OF Ryan Ludwick, 2B Skip Schumaker.
Schumaker will make more as a
second baseman than an outfielder. Ludwick likely will get close to $7 million
and might have to be traded for payroll relief if Holliday signs a multiyear
IN LIMBO: OF Ryan Ludwick, a
candidate to be traded last year, could be dealt this time. RHP Josh Kinney, a
playoff hero in 2006, probably won't return.
--1B Albert Pujols (arthroscopic
right elbow surgery in October 2009) should be back at full strength for spring