Tag Archives: ryan howard

Pujols Proves It’s All About The Money

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Sports is all about money. Period. It’s about getting paid, but then again in our daily lives it’s the same for us. We all want our fair share of pay and we want to be paid what we feel that we deserve. We always want the best deal possible and once we get it we are gone.

There is no sense of loyalty in our day to day jobs especially if it’s a job that we do that we hate. If the money is better elsewhere we will leave at the drop of a hat.

For sports fans we view things on the field differently. We look at athletes not as workers but as idols. We worship the ground they walk on, buy those expensive jerseys and scream, cheer and holler at the mere sight if them.

All we ask in return is some loyalty. Loyalty to us for being loyal to you. All we ask is that the man the adore so much will stay and play for the fans that made him so loved.

However, loyalty is at a premium these days as athletes have emulated the working class by chasing more money instead of working with what the home team has and being an icon for far after they have retired.

You can add Albert Pujols to that list.

Pujols left the St. Louis Cardinals today to sign with the Anaheim Angels (I will not ever call them the Los Angeles Angels ever) for a ten year 250 million dollar deal that makes him baseball’s highest paid first baseman tied with Ryan Howard.

That’s what Pujols wanted all along. He wanted to be games highest paid player at his position and apparently was willing to throw away 11 years of goodwill to get it… and he did. Honestly though, who wouldn’t?

As a fan of the game it ticks me off. Pujols was a St. Louis Cardinal. He was the modern day Stan Musial, he could’ve been the greatest Cardinal of all time and placed on the same mantel as Musial, Bob Gibson and Ozzie Smith. That was his city. He began his career there and built up a legacy that looks as if it will be hard for anyone to touch.

Pujols has 445 homeruns, 2000 hits, and won two World Series rings with the Cards. He had the city in the palm of his hands and the love and admiration of everyone involved… and he let it all go for one extra year and 30 million dollars.

The Cardinals are a small market organization that doesn’t have the deepest pockets in the world. However, they did off Pujols a 9 year, 198 million dollar deal at the beginning of the season and upped it to 10/220 this week. This is an extremely lucrative deal that would make anyone happy… Not Pujols.

The deal would’ve made him the fourth highest paid first baseman in the game behind Howard, Mark teixiera and Adrian Gonzalez. Pujols always wanted to be the highest paid player at his position and if the Cardinals weren’t going to give it to him then was willing to look elsewhere.

The Angels came knocking and Pujols is now taking his talents to the west coast.

They made the deal that Pujols wanted and he took it. It didn’t matter that Pujols was a king in St. Louis, that he was playing for the second most decorated team in baseball behind the New York Yankees or that he could’ve been the greatest Cardinal that ever lived.

All that mattered most was the money. Once he got it, he rolled out.

I have resigned myself to the fact that there are no more lifers in sports. No one wants to play for the same team throughout their entire career and jump ship when the opportunity arises.

I just had hope that Pujols wouldn’t be that guy. I was hoping he would stay in St. Louis and finish what he started and be admired for it long after he was gone. Instead he took the money and ran.

St. Louis won’t be able to replace Pujols and all he meant. They won’t find another bat to replace his production in the middle of the lineup nor will they be able to find someone who meant as much to the city as he did. Eventually the pain of losing an all-time great will leave the senses of St. Louis, however it will be a long long time and they will be reminded of it every time they stare at first base and don’t see number 5 there.

It’ll be weird to see Pujols don a different shade of red come spring training. When he puts on that bright red cap with a giant A with a halo above it in the next few days Albert Pujols begins the last chapter if his career. He is now an Angel for better or worse. He’ll hit his 700th home run there, he’ll obtain his 3000th hit there and he’ll finish his hall of fame career there.

He should’ve done it all as a Cardinal, he should’ve been loyalty to the fan base that made him as big as he is.

However, loyalty in sports doesn’t exist anymore, it’s all bout the money. As much as I despise Pujols’s decision to leave St. Louis I can’t judge him.

If a job called us up and offered any of us big a pay increase we’d leave jump ship too. That’s just how it is.

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The Debate: Curtis Granderson, AL MVP

AL MVP? You're looking at him.

So Adrian Gonzalez is going to win MVP in the American League. I’ve conceded this fact I know it will happen and there’s nothing that I can do about it.

Gonzalez has been everything that the Red Sox hoped for when they acquired him from San Diego. He has stabilized their lineup, hit for average and driven in a ton of runs. Basically without him in the lineup the Red Sox are not the same team they don’t have the same pop in the order and no one can really match what he does as far as production goes.

His MVP candidacy can only be trumped by two other Red Sox who are having great years in Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury and maybe a dark horse candidate in Jose Bautista can steal some votes. Besides that Gonzalez should run away with this thing as the Red Sox guide their way into the playoffs and to a possible AL East title…

Ok that was my take on the AL MVP race up until today when I did my normal weekly numbers look up and checked out league leaders and to see who else was ballin out of control currently. There was Gonzalez in all of his glory with a monstrous .348 batting average and a .408 on base percentage to go with 102 RBI. Those numbers, along with his great defense at first base can more than lock up the MVP race for him.

Mark Teixiera can thank Grandy for his power numbers.

But here’s the revelation that I have come to after further review and after getting my head together… Adrian Gonzalez is not the AL MVP if the season ended today… Curtis Granderson is.

Yep, I hear the calls from all of you that this is a homer pick seeing as how I am a super crazy Yankees fan and that I’m just finding a way to diminish Gonzalez’s value to the Red Sox. Honestly I’m not; I think Gonzalez is without question the best Red Sox player right now. He is putting up great numbers and has been a great addition to the Red Sox lineup.

With that said Granderson has been much more valuable.

With Alex Rodriguez fighting through injuries, Derek Jeter’s early season struggles, Mark Teixeira’s horrendous batting average and a ton of uncertainty in the rotation with Phil Hughes arm problems and injuries to Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano it was Granderson that made all of that irrelevant.

Granderson took Teixeira’s number 3 spot in the lineup after A-Rod’s injury and took off. He’s producing power numbers at a career rate and is doing it with ease. Granderson has set career highs in home runs (36), RBI (103) and slugging (.591) and is doing it against left handed and right handed pitching.

For anyone that has followed Granderson throughout his career you know about his deficiencies against lefties. Last year he barely hit .200 against them and found himself on the bench in games against lefties and replaced in games by the likes of Austin Kearns. Yeah it wasn’t cool. This year he’s hitting .279 against them thanks to help from hitting Coach Teddy Long and looks as comfortable as ever.

Take a look at his stats for a minute and compare them to the three Red Sox Gonzalez, Pedroia and Ellsbury as well as Toronto outfielder Jose Bautista. Of all 5 contenders Granderson does have a ton more strikeouts with 135, trails Bautista, Gonzalez and Pedroia in on-base percentage and has the lowest batting average at .278. However, let’s be real about strikeouts these days, they don’t matter. This is a free swinging era and seeing high strikeout totals is nothing new. In 2006 when Ryan Howard won MVP he struck out 186 times, he also hit .300 with 50 home runs and 140 RBI. Also his OBP is almost .380 so who cares that he’s 11th in that category when you get on base that much.

Granderson has monster numbers in most offensive categories. He’s 1st in runs, triples and RBI, 2nd in Home runs and slugging, 3rd in OPS, 6th in walks and 8th in steals. Look at those runs for a minute; yes he is 11th in OBP but when he gets on base he scores almost every single time. Jacoby Ellsbury has scored 93 times, 2nd in the league, and is a league leader in steals… AND IS STILL ALMOST 30 RUNS BEHIND GRANDERSON! To get on base like that and score runs at that pace is silly. He has an outside shot at scoring 150 runs this season and breaking Jeff Bagwell’s modern day mark of 152 (the record is 198 in 1894 and that’s never getting broken).

He’s put Yankee batters in great position to knock in runs all year with his ability to get on base and his speed. As poor as Tex has been hitting this year his power numbers are still gaudy because he hits behind Granderson and has been able to get good pitches to hit, same for Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher.

(Side note: A dark horse candidate for MVP is Cano as well. Top 10 in four offensive categories, could have 200 hits, a gold glove at second base and is scorching hot in the second half. Yeah I know I’m giving my Yankees a little too much slurpage but they deserve it.

Granderson's not bad defensively either.

I honestly thought that the Yankees were going to be mediocre this year with the Red Sox getting Gonzalez and Carl Crawford as well as the Yankees pitching problems. However, you name the person and they’ve stepped up.

David Robertson has become one of the game’s best setup men, Granderson’s career year to ease the A-Rod ills, Ivan Nova emerging as the Yankees number 2 starter and Swisher finding his swing in the summer months have all lifted the Yankees to a possible playoff spot. This was an iffy year and guys have been stepping up and killing it.)

More than anything Granderson has become the most reliable man in the Yankee lineup. It’s almost as if you expect him to get on base and score runs every game. It doesn’t matter if he gets a hit or not he somehow finds a way to score a run. A few games ago Granderson went 0-3 and scored 2 runs… how does that happen? In yesterday’s 22-9 massacre of Oakland he had 2 hits and scored 4 runs… really?

He’s having a gaudy year and is as worthy of MVP as anyone in the league. If Bautista is truly MVP worthy why is his team playing so poorly even with him in the lineup? Also how can you distinguish one of the Red Sox players as MVP?

Who is truly more valuable Ellsbury, Pedroia or Gonzalez? If you take any of them out of the lineup will the Red Sox still be effective offensively? Who makes the other two guys better? Hell David Ortiz missed time in the lineup two weeks ago and the Sox went 4-4 and fell behind the Yankees in the AL East momentarily so maybe he should get MVP votes.

The point I’m making is it’s hard to choose an MVP from a team where there are three candidates because really who is more valuable. With Granderson you see his value and his effect on the Yankees lineup from top to bottom. He sets the tone, drives in runs, and has made other players in the lineup better.

Without Granderson the Yankees wouldn’t be in the position that they are in. His big numbers and big plays have the Yankees sitting pretty in the AL Wildcard and possibly winning the AL East.

He deserves props and respect for the season that he is having, but more than anything he deserves to be the AL MVP.


Random Thoughts Vol.2

Hit me... I dare you.

It’s been a month… time for more random thoughts.

I’m pretty sure that even if Dontrelle Willis’s improbable comeback as a pitcher fizzles out, he can be a DH or first baseman with that bat.

The Pirates are now dead… I knew it couldn’t last.

FC Barcelona losing to Chivas USA is the equivalent of Michigan losing to Appalachian State.

Justin Verlander might throw 6 more no hitters this year… I’m not joking about that either.

The U.S. Women didn’t choke.

(I mean did you watch the game? Japan never died. They kept fighting back and took advantage of the opportunities that were given to them. Sure the U.S. missed chances in penalty kicks where the Japan goaltender all of a sudden looked like Ken Dryden. However, you can’t say that they choked the game away when Japan played well in the face of adversity. Sometimes teams give games away but most times teams pull victory from the jaws of defeat. That’s what Japan did.)

Isn’t it funny that Ben Roethlisberger provided good off-season news for the Steelers as opposed to everyone else?

I’m surprised Steve Williams didn’t rip Tiger Woods even more than he did.

The Red Sox have not had a solid starting staff for the entire season with bullpen issues… yet have been in first place since June. And you think Adrian Gonzalez doesn’t deserve MVP?

Randy Moss aint done… seriously.

Are Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand the more extreme version of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter?

Seguin and Marchand are really enjoying winning the Stanley Cup.

I hate Merrill Hoge… but he was right about Tim Tebow…

And LeBron James would back him up wouldn’t he.

(My least favorite basketball player who shrinks in the moment defending the most overrated athlete not named Jimmer Fredette… god has a sense of humor.)

Kevin Durant dropped 66 at the Rucker… somewhere Russell Westbrook was seething.

Nice to see that Shea Weber got $7.5 million in arbitration… he’ll get that when he’s a Red Wing next year too.

The most aggravating rotation in baseball would consist of A.J. Burnett, John Lackey, Barry Zito, Edinson Volquez and Zach Greinke… with Burnett leading the league in headaches.

(I hate A.J. Burnett.)

The Eagles are the new Heat.

Osi Umenyiora can talk about a new deal all he wants. However, if he follows up another big sack season with a small sack season… kick rocks.

Ocho and Brady… Jesus.

What do you think Carson Palmer will do with all that money now that he’s retired?

Kyle Orton has lost his starting jobs to Jay Cutler, Rex Grossman and Tim Tebow…if he went on a 12 month bender I wouldn’t judge him.

Oklahoma is no.1 in the coaches’ poll. The last team to start the season no.1 and finish it as such… 2004 USC… good luck Boomer Sooner.

Strasburg is coming back… *giddy face*.

Shaq and Barkley on TNT… I need my cable back and fast.

The Red Sox traded for Erik Bedard to help their rotation… his ERA at Fenway is near 7 lifetime… I’m starting to feel ok that the Yankees didn’t get anything before the deadline.

Ryan Howard in his last 3 games has 3 home runs and 6 RBI, yep it must be August.

Michael Irvin on the cover of a gay magazine to promote equality of all people. Don’t know if I would’ve done it but very gutsy.

I win... again.

Duke being investigated for violations in recruiting… told you that no one is clean anymore.

When is Verlander’s next start again?

(We’re at a point with Verlander that he is must see TV. Verlander throws harder than anyone else in the league and his location has improved to the point where now he is close to pinpoint accurate. If you play the Tigers and Verlander is up on the mound then you might as well take it as a loss. He’s currently baseball’s best hurler and he hasn’t even hit his prime yet. Imagine this guy in 4 years… scary.)

Yani Tseng is the most dominant athlete in the world right now. And I am well aware that she is a 22 year-old female golfer and not many people watch women’s golf, but you should watch her.

Dan Uggla has a 25 game hitting streak… yet is batting .213… ummm?

NFL players like talking smack about how bad Roger Goodell is in the media, yet the signed this new CBA like everything is ok. Either take action or shut the hell up.

Is it wrong that I’m more excited for Syracuse football than Ohio State football? Keep in mind that I’m an OSU grad though I grew up with the ‘Cuse.

When A-rod retires there will be no specials on his greatness, no lauding over his accomplishments… hell there maybe a party thrown just for the fact that we never get to hear his name again.

(I haven’t been on A-Rod in a while but he’s like a bad ex-girlfriend he always finds a way to drive you crazy.

Really A-rod… illegal poker rings? And you still go after MLB and the Yankees tell you not to?

The Yankees are in a pennant race, one game back of Boston with the biggest part of the season approaching and you decide to blow a few thousand in front of low lifes, coke users and violent outcasts.

Eat your heart out Red Sox Nation.

I always say that I’m over A-rod but I really mean it this time. If this is true and A-rod did violate MLB policy then the Yankees should find a loophole in his deal, drop him like a bad habit and let Eduardo Nunez go through his growing pains at third.

I’m over the A-rod drama, I’m over the fact that there is always something with him and I’m ready to move on from him. Hopefully the Yankees brass feels the same.)

Kate Upton’s a Yankees fan, thank you God.

Had to end it off positively. Have you ever seen Kate Upton? That would make anyone feel good even when your third baseman is a perennial screw up.


Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia

It's all smiles for Hunter Pence and the phans in Philly.

You know how much I hate the city of Boston as a New York fan. You know about the rivalries of the Bruins-Ranger, Yankees-Red Sox, Knicks-Celtics and the Pats-Jets, Giants conundrum. There is no Boston gear of any kind allowed in my house, if I see a Boston hat in my sight I might start a ruckus over it.

There is no other city that I hate more when it comes to athletic competition than Boston…

…that was until yesterday.

Ladies and gentlemen, the city of Philadelphia is about to eclipse my hatred of Boston. To say that Philadelphia made a splash in both baseball and football yesterday is an understatement. The Eagles and Phillies respectively got the best players available during NFL free agency and the MLB trade deadline.

The Phillies won the Hunter Pence sweepstakes by trading their top pitching and hitting prospects plus two other for Pence who the Phillies desperately needed in their lineup.

The Phillies are hitting .235 against lefties thanks to a lefty heavy lineup that isn’t producing many runs. Pence is hitting .295 against lefties and adds some right-handed pop to a lineup that except for Ryan Howard hasn’t had much power at all for this entire season.

Add that to the fact that Pence is only 28 years old and in each of the last four years his batting average, hits, and RBI have increased while his strikeouts have decreased. With Dominic Brown improving and Shane Victorino staying steady offensively and defensively the Phillies have set their outfield for the next few years and could get back to those high offensive numbers from a few years ago.

The move was in response to the San Francisco Giants acquisition of Carlos Beltran, which got rave reviews. However, the Pence deal is a better deal because Pence is younger, isn’t injury prone like Beltran and Pence is ascending in his career while Beltran is on the decline.

When you put that together with the fact that the Phillies rotation has been better than advertised (even without Roy Oswalt) and you would assume that the Phillies are now the team to beat.

Nmandi Asomugha can smile now, he's out of Oakland.

If Pence can revive that lineup by hitting behind Howard in the 5 hole in a hitters ballpark then the Phillies should win the NL East easily and have enough muscle to get by San Francisco in the NLCS and deal with any AL team in the World Series.

The Eagles acquisition was out of left field as well… no seriously it was out of nowhere.

Nmandi Asomugha was thought to be heading to the New York Jets to team with Darrelle Revis and form the most despicable secondary in the league. The Dallas Cowboys were also in the mix as were the Houston Texans. Notice not one mention of the Eagles.

Friday night the Eagles seemed to swoop in (pun intended) and steal Asomugha when the Jets offer fell through at the last second. Asomugha’s deal was the latest in a week of deals that made have made the Eagles the team to beat in not only the NFC, but maybe the NFL.

Asomugha joins Jason Babin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Vince Young in Philadelphia as the Eagles have made it obvious that they are gunning for a Super Bowl and nothing less.

With Asomugha, DRC and Asante Samuel the Eagles have a secondary that will make any QB feel uneasy throwing the ball into during the season. They have to be the early front-runners to win the NFC East as the Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys have made no moves to even attempt to counteract with the Eagles moves, and also who in the NFC in general can match the level of talent that the Eagles currently possess.

How good is it to be a Philly fan right now?

Your baseball team is tops in the MLB with the best rotation in the league and you just got a young, speedy and effective bat in Pence who should be a big piece for your franchise going towards the future.

Your football team just got one of the league’s best defensive backs who fits in perfectly with a revamped defense that along with Mike Vick and an explosive offense has everyone around the league talking Super Bowl.

Imagine if rumors from the offseason were true that the Flyers were interested in obtaining Steven Stamkos from the Lightning.

Philadelphia has had a hot summer and it looks like it’s going to continue to stay warm well into the fall in October and maybe even February.

It makes me mad just to even think about it. Who knows, it’s probably making the people of Boston mad as well.


Baseball Preview Day 6: The Philly Phab Phour

Everything is sunny in Philadelphia.

We in sports have become obsessed with cliques, crews, Big 3’s and things like that. We marveled at how Miami was able to bring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh together, we salivated over the possibility of Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson catching passes from Carson Palmer, and we marveled at how the Celtics brought Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce together.

 

This past winter, the Philadelphia Phillies trumped them all.

 

When Cliff Lee announced that he was signing with Philly Monday December 12th it sent shockwaves throughout baseball.

 

Lee was the coveted prize of the free agent market and the two teams that had the inside track on him were the Yankees (of course), and the team that traded for him the Texas Rangers. But when it flashed across most TV screen that he was going back to Philly (who traded him to get Roy Halladay) people began placing their bets for the 2011 season.

 

It was clear that at that point the Philadelphia Phillies were the favorites to win the World Series in 2011.

 

Pitching wins championships, and if that’s the case then why not hand them the trophy right now. The Phillies rotation is a who’s who of the best in the game on the mound in any situation.

 

Roy Halladay is the ace. A two-time CY Young winner with amazing control who is coming off of his best season ever going 21-10 with a 2.19 ERA and two no-hitters. Following him is Lee, arguably the best lefty in the game with a penchant for coming up big in big situations (ask the Yankees about that). Following him is Roy Oswalt who was trapped in Houston letting his powerful fastball and pinpoint consistency be overshadowed by the team’s recent downturn before the Phillies added him before last year’s trade deadline. Lastly there sits Cole Hamels. Hamels was once thought to be the future ace of the Phillies and proved it with a 2008 postseason to remember when he led Philly to its first World Series title since 1980. Hamels was the World Series MVP and was primed to start a gigantic run as one of baseball’s best lefties before a lackluster 09 kept him down. Last year saw Hamels get back on track with a sub 3 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP, not bad for your fourth starter. Oh yeah and there’s Joe Blanton… he’s got a ring too as the number 5 starter… no biggie.

In case you were wondering Joe Blanton is also in the Phillies rotation.

When looking at that rotation on paper its no wonder that everyone from the media, to the bloggers, to the casual fans began fawning over them even before pitchers and catchers reported.

 

This staff brings back memories of the mid-90’s Atlanta Braves with John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Steve Avery taking the hill and straight owning opponents.

 

However, its time to rain on Philly’s parade just a little.

 

As impressive as this staff is they might not even be the best staff in the National League, let alone baseball. Out west the San Francisco the Giants are the defending world champs with 4 of the best young arms in the game (and Barry Zito) and, oh by the way, they beat this same Philly team last October.

 

Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Bumgarner are just as good and just a talented as Philly’s Phab Phour and they’ve proven it. The Giants are lying very low as possible title contenders and they have as much claim to throne as anyone.

 

Also Philly might want to take a look in its own division for some competition. The Atlanta Braves have their most potent staff in years with Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens and Brandon Beachy. With that rotation and the addition of Dan Uggla to the lineup Philadelphia wont just run away with the division like everyone expects.

For the first time in years the Phillies wont need to rely on Ryan Howard and the offense to do the heavy lifting.

Speaking of offense, can Philly score enough runs to win ball games? I know, I know, that sentence sounds foolish when talking about the Phillies because over the last few years they’ve been one of baseball’s best run producing machines.

 

However, Chase Utley is still banged up, without him in the lineup or Jayson Werth for that matter, Ryan Howard might put up career low numbers and Jimmy Rollins is coming off of back-to-back poor seasons. It sounds weird to say but what may hold Philadelphia back is their inability to produce enough runs to get victories for Halladay and company.

 

Taking all of this into consideration, Philly is still the team to beat. I’m sorry but there is nothing scarier than seeing Philly on your schedule and seeing a former World Series MVP, two former CY Young winners and one of baseball’s best power righties coming at you at any point during a series. It’s a murderers row of arms that if healthy can with 100+ games without breaking a sweat.

 

Let me ask you this; going into a series if you’re Cincinnati, Atlanta, San Fran or anyone, do you really think you can go to Philly, play games 1 & 2 against Halladay and Lee and get a split before coming home and facing Hamels and Oswalt? If you said yes then you’re a liar.

 

This staff was put together to intimidate and to win. One look at them and you walk into a clubhouse thinking please God let us get one hit. No other staff does that; no other team is like that.

 

Ever since Philly won the title in 2008, Ruben Amaro has made it a priority to stay on top and get back as much as possible. With the Lee acquisition to coincide with Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt, Amaro may have out done himself.

 

No matter the questions about the offense or the concern of the health of Brad Lidge, the Philadelphia Phillies are the World Series favorite backed by the baddest rotation in baseball. Miami might’ve gotten a lot of attention with their Big 3 but they got nothing on the Philly Phab Phour.


Baseball Preview Day 2: The Present And Future Of Prince Fielder

With free agency looming, all eyes are finally on Prince Fielder.

This is the era of the first baseman. We went through the shortstop revolution in the late 90’s with Omar Vizquel, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and now the bulk of talent in the field has shifted to the right side of the infield.

Joey Votto was the NL MVP last year. Ryan Howard has won one as well and has a NLCS MVP to match. Mark Teixeira is a perennial all-star and considered to be the best defensive first baseman in the game. Then there’s Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera and of course the best of them all Albert Pujols (no explanation needed.).

One guy who gets lost in the sauce is Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder.

The son of former 50 home run hitter Cecil is the same hulking mass that his father is, but is a much more refined hitter.

He’s good for close to or over 100 walks a season to go with 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI that he averages a year. He puts up Pujols on-base numbers, Howard power numbers and has improved his defense so much that he’s close to Teixeira’s level.

So why then is Fielder never mentioned on the same breathe as his associates?

It goes something like this; as talented and as big of a threat he is at the plate, Fielder is more comparable to Milton Bradley than he is to Pujols, Howard or Teixeira.

Ryan Braun maybe the Brewers franchise face, but Fielder's presence makes his job easier at the plate.

While it’s not that extreme, Fielder is rougher around the edges than his cooler fellows at first base. You will see Fielder throwing bats and gloves in the dugout after a strikeout, going chest to chest with an ump, you’ve seen him wait to beat the pulp out of Guillermo Mota after being hit. Not to say that he is too volatile, but Fielder has had his share of questionable moments.

As far as baseball goes the reason why he’s not mentioned in the same breath with the other first basemen could be due to location, geographically and divisionally and the fact that unlike the other men Fielder isn’t the face of his team.

Fielder plays in the same division as Votto, who powered the Reds to an NL Central title last year, and Pujols, who… well, is Albert Pujols. Being in the same division as two of the top 5 first basemen in the game gets you less airtime on Baseball Tonight and in the national press. What also doesn’t help his name is Ryan Braun. It’s not Braun’s fault that he’s one of the games brightest stars and since his debut 4 years ago he’s been a stud. Braun is the face of the franchise because he has an appeal and a quality about him that makes him a likeable guy.

It also doesn’t hurt to be a lifetime .300 hitter whose strikeout totals have declined each of the last 3 seasons. It also doesn’t hurt to hit in front of Fielder whose presence in the lineup allows for Braun to get the kind of at-bats that he gets.

That could change after this year.

This is a huge year for the Brewers and Fielder. With the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright going through Tommy John surgery and the Brewers picking up Zach Greinke from Kansas City, the Brew Crew have great positioning to be the team to knock Cincinnati off of their perch in the division.

However, if they don’t resign Prince Fielder then it could be a one-year deal.

Fielder is at the end of a 2 year, 18 million dollar and is looking at a huge payday this offseason. One that the Brewers wont be able to afford unless Fielder takes a hometown discount.

Losing Fielder would be a huge blow to the team and its lineup. Despite his attitude issues Fielder is a great commercial guy and is fun loving type of player (see the team’s home run celebration when he stomped on home plate two years ago.). He is a great clubhouse guy who brings everyone together in a funny way. If he leaves the Brewers lose a fan favorite and a huge bat in the middle of its lineup.

Sure he had an off year last season but Fielder is a .290/33/110 guy with a .400 OBP waiting to happen. You can’t replace that anywhere.

Fielder is volatile, but he's also lots of fun.

His presence in the lineup makes Braun, Corey Hart and Casey McGehee so much better and gives pitchers fits. Losing Fielder would put more pressure on a rotation that is already iffy even with Greinke and Yovani Gallardo at the top.

However, the Brewers can’t pay him 20 million a year, it’s impossible. Not in that market, with that team. Their only options are to play out the year and see what happens or trade him now and get what they can for him.

If they do trade him, they’ll get a ton of talent back. Fielder is arguably a top 5 first basemen in an era where there are a ton of them to choose from.

Though he’s not a huge name like Albert Pujols, or the rising star the Joey Votto is, Fielder is one of the best in the game at his position.

Trust when I say that Fielder won’t have the same year that he had last year. This year will be huge, and someone whether it is the Brewers or another team will pay for it.


Pujols Should Realize His Legacy Is Worth More Than Money

Just because Pujols is worth 300 million dollars doesn't mean that he should get it.

I don’t think Albert Pujols is greedy, I think Pujols has every right to want to be the highest paid player in the game and in history. To put it plain and simple Pujols is the best player of this generation and in the last 50 years. His numbers rival legends, not just in the glamour categories of home runs and RBI, but in his low strikeout totals, high walks and on-base percentage. In an era of free swingers like Carlos Pena and Mark Reynolds he is the throwback to Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and the man he looks to pass as the greatest Cardinal of all-time Stan Musial.

He’s the most productive and most feared man in the game. His at-bats are methodical, his swings are calculated, and his results are on point. He’s what you want your kid to be like; patient, smart and powerful.

There’s competition in power but not in importance. I love Ryan Howard but he isn’t the hitter Pujols is. Adam Dunn matches his homeruns and walks, but towers him in strikeouts and isn’t close in average. Prince Fielder can drive in runs but isn’t the marketable player Pujols is and has attitude issues.

You can run them down the line, Mark Teixeira, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Morneau, Joey Votto… there are so many great first baseman in this generation, it reminds you of the shortstop revolution of the 90’s with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Omar Vizquel and Nomar Garciaparra to name a few.

You couldn’t go wrong with any of these guys at first because they all bring the wood and are the best players on their teams. However, none of them are Pujols. Pujols is the alpha dog of alpha dogs. He’s moved into the Michael Jordan class, he’s the guy that is the league MVP year after year unless someone else has a monster year and you feel bad for the guy because Pujols is so good (hi, Joey Votto). He’s the guy you want to be the cornerstone of your franchise. If there is a guy that deserves to be the highest paid player in the game it’s him.

Pujols trumps Howard's skill, but his deal should look similar to Howard's.

However, here’s the problem even though you, me, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak and Chairman William Dewitt Jr. know all of this to be true…

Pujols is delusional. He wants a 10 year, 300 million dollar deal at the age of 31 to man first base for the rest of his career. Um, no,

As a Yankees fan I’ve seen these types of deals and the problems that they cause down the road. We’re going to be paying A-Rod 27.5 million dollars a year until he’s 42 and his production is already in decline and he’s only 3 years into the deal. We won’t be able to move him and pretty soon we’ll have a left side of the infield that can only be DH’s.

The Cardinals see this as a problem in signing Pujols to such a long deal. The odds of him continuing his all-time pace of .320/40+/120+ is silly at his age.  Eventually he will fall off, and if he does, you don’t want to be paying him 30 million per year to watch him turn into Jason Giambi.

Pujols has to understand a few things about his situation; one, He plays in a mid-level market, two, this isn’t the early 2000’s were people shell out 120-180+ million dollar deals like hot cakes, three, does he really think he expects us to believe that these talks are done until next year and four, he risks hurting his legacy.

St. Louis is not New York, Boston or Los Angeles; the money has a limit in smaller markets and has to be used carefully. The Cardinals needed to get Pujols help in the lineup and they did that with Matt Holliday. Eventually they’ll need to sign Adam Wainwright to a long term deal, giving Pujols 300 million would hinder them in the long run and with The Reds and Brewers getting stronger and stronger with their moves the Cardinals need to keep pace.

Then there’s the issue of money. Pujols is worth 300 million dollars but St. Louis would be stupid to give it to him as well as ten years. The model for the deal that Pujols should be found in what was given to Ryan Howard last year. The Phillies were criticized for bidding against themselves in giving Howard the 5 year, 125 million deal, that they gave him most said that they were merely bidding against themselves and that if he’s worth 25 million then what’s Pujols worth?

However, the Phillies did a smart thing with the Howard deal. They knew potentially in free agency Howard would have asked for a longer deal for the same amount and it would’ve drawn interest from teams like the Dodgers, Angels and others. The Phillies would’ve faced losing Howard because there was no way the Phillies would have given him 7+ years and close to 200 million dollars, so they did the smart thing by making him the highest paid player for only 5 years. That way he gets his money and by the time he’s only capable of being a DH (not like he isn’t already. Sorry Ryan, I love you but defensively you’re middle of the road and that’s being nice.) The Phillies won’t have to worry about it.

The reasonable deal for Pujols is 6 years and 180 million. He gets his money and the length is reasonable for the Cardinals to work with. The problem is that you know the Angels, Dodgers; maybe the Braves will offer more money and years and put the Cardinals in a bind. Then the Cardinals will be forced to make a decision that could cripple their finances.

With that said, for Pujols to say that he won’t talk with the Cardinals until the end of next season is highly

Pujols can move past Stan Musial as the greatest Cardinal in the franchises storied history.

laughable. If he gets the money that he feels is reasonable Pujols will sign in May, June or July. Talks are always ongoing, why do you think Carmelo Anthony is still considering signing with the Nuggets even though he’s made it clear he won’t? It’s a combination of leverage and leaving your options open.

Lastly Pujols need to be the highest player in league history could hurt his legacy in the sense of the damage that he could do that could prevent him from being the greatest Cardinal of all-time.

Behind the Yankees the Cardinals are the leagues other flagship franchise (no not the Dodgers, Cubs, or Red Sox). They are the only other franchise with double digit World Series championships (10). They have arguably the greatest pitcher (Bob Gibson) and shortstop (Ozzie Smith) in the hall of fame. Stan Musial is arguably one of the greatest hitters of all-time and recent received the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama yesterday… and Pujols could move past all of these guys into history with the leagues second greatest franchise.

He’s going to break countless records, win about four more MVP’s, get to 600 homeruns, 3000 hits and do it all in a Cardinals jersey. He’s their version of Derek Jeter, the face of the franchise now and possibly forever until another young kid comes along and put up the same numbers. What he should realize is that in some cases legacy is more than money. Fans don’t care about the money, they care about you. You represent them, their franchise, and their pride. Fans will talk about Pujols with great joy for years after he’s gone about his presence at the plate, his play in the field and his leadership. All of this matters to the people that pay top dollar everyday to watch you play especially when you’re in contention for a title yearly.

Pujols chase for the crown of the highest paid player could alienate that, especially if drives him away from St. Louis. It changes him forever, he goes from the greatest player ever to another greedy athlete with great numbers but who didn’t respect the game. Already with his self-imposed deadline passing media relations have reached out to see if the Yankees, with their deep pockets, will make a play for Pujols even though they are comfortable with Teixeira at first.

The game doesn’t need that. Cardinals fans don’t either. Pujols needs to get realistic and see the big picture for what it’s worth. 300 million dollars isn’t worth hurting your legacy even if you deserve it. Hopefully Pujols makes the right decision for him and baseball and doesn’t let the prize of being the wealthiest player in league history hurt becoming what matters most. He should be a Cardinal until he hangs em up; no amount of money is worth staining your legacy.