Howard for Pujols?

by on March 15, 2010   10 Comments

It’s a trade that is more likely to be considered in your fantasy baseball league or on your new version of MLB 2K10, but ESPN’s Buster Olney has reported that the Philadelphia Phillies have “internally discussed” a deal that would send Ryan Howard (and presumably multiple prospects) to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Albert Pujols.

Pujols, 30, is widely considered the best player in the game and possibly the greatest hitter of this generation.  He is a free agent after the 2011 season, and there is concern that the Cardinals will not be able (or willing) to resign him, as he’ll likely command somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million per year.

Howard, who is also 30, is due to make $19 million in 2010 and $20 million in 2011, and is also a free agent after the 2011 season.  Although Howard will likely receive a very lucrative contract, he will be considerably cheaper than Pujols.

Howard, who won the 2006 National League MVP award, is from the St. Louis-area, and some have speculated that while trading Pujols would be an incredibly unpopular idea in St. Louis, the Cardinals could hope to minimize the damage by bringing in hometown-favorite Howard.

On the surface, this deal seems to almost make a tiny amount of sense, but once you look a little deeper, it’s incredibly absurd how little sense this makes.

The Cardinals signed outfielder Matt Holliday to a seven-year, $120 million deal this offseason, which appeared to be part of a plan to show Pujols that the Cardinals are dedicated to putting a winning team on the field.  If St. Louis had any intention of trading Pujols, then overpaying for Holliday’s services this offseason made no sense.  In addition to that, it’s generally a bad idea for a franchise to trade away one of the top three players in the world, who is under contract for two more years at a well below market value.

Although this deal may have some fans in Philadelphia salivating at the mere thought of Albert Pujols in the already potent Philly lineup, this deal also makes little sense when given general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and his apparent philosophy that he’s not willing to mortgage the future of the franchise for short-term gains.  If Amaro didn’t think that way, Philadelphia would have likely kept Cliff Lee in red pinstripes for the 2010 season along with newly acquired pitcher Roy Halladay, instead of trading him to Seattle in order to replenish the suddenly depleted farm system, in an effort to win their second World Series title in three years.  For Philadelphia, in order to obtain Pujols through trade, they would likely have to include multiple prospects in the deal, and that would go against everything that Amaro has been working for.

An idea like this is fun to think about (if you’re a Phillies fan), but it appears that there is absolutely no validity in this rumor, which should make Cardinals fans breathe a sigh of relief.

Author: Matt Pennington
Categories: Major League Baseball (MLB)
Tags: , , , ,

10 Comments »

  1. If I was a St. Louis fan I’d be picketing outside of Busch Stadium instead of writing this comment. Who trades the best player in the game let alone the face of the franchise? Being a Tiger fan, losing Curtis Granderson was tough to take because he had become the figure head for Tiger baseball, but at least there was reasoning behind hit – dude is worthless against lefties and had a back loaded contract expanding by the year. If you can’t pay Pujols, who the heck can you pay? You said it right in here, Matt, why outbid yourself for Matt Holliday, who only has one-half season of proven production outside of Coors, and then dump Pujols because of money issues? I could just barely see the reasoning behind trading Pujols out of the National League, but trading him to the Phillies makes the pennant completely unwinnable for the Cardinals for the duration of his next contract.

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    March 15, 2010 at 8:55 pm

  2. Exactly. How often does a guy like Pujols get traded? That’s like the Yankees trading Jeter, the Colts trading Peyton Manning, the Cavs trading LeBron, the Caps trading Ovechkin…you get my point. Not only is he the best player in the game, but when you think about the Cardinals, you immediately think of Albert Pujols.

    Matt Holliday isn’t the type of player who can carry a team like Pujols can. Then again, not many players can do what Pujols gets, but you know what I mean.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    March 16, 2010 at 2:38 am

  3. I’m not sure if the Cardinals don’t have the money to keep Pujols or if the media is trying to create 2 years worth of trade rumor coverage. ESPN is famous for that. I don’t see any way that the Cardinals let him leave.

    Comment by Eric Somsel
    March 16, 2010 at 9:01 am

  4. ESPN creating a story where there isn’t one.

    There is NO WAY this deal would happen.

    Comment by Mac
    March 16, 2010 at 11:34 am

  5. Not that this would ever happen… but if Pujols ever did become a Phillie, as a Braves fan, I would go have to go to counseling.

    Comment by Josh Brown
    March 16, 2010 at 1:47 pm

  6. Hahaha, Josh.

    On the bright side for the Braves – I’m watching Billy Wagner throw on MLB TV right now in spring training vs. the Marlins and he just hit 101 mph on the gun and followed it up 84 mph slider. How’d you like to see that in your first few at-bats of the year? Totally unfair.

    Comment by Jason Wuerfel
    March 16, 2010 at 2:47 pm

  7. I know!… I was “working” while listening to my recently purchased MLB Gameday Audio. Wagner’s looking nasty. Lookout Phillies.

    Comment by Josh Brown
    March 16, 2010 at 4:34 pm

  8. Haha the Phils know all about Wagner, you can have that guy. Unless he can also bat cleanup for the Braves, I’m not worried about him.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    March 16, 2010 at 7:25 pm

  9. I would literally cry if the Cards traded Albert for Howard. Would be an awful deal even if it included every top prospect the Phils had and they still had Kyle Drabek to add.

    Comment by Mac
    March 16, 2010 at 10:22 pm

  10. As a Phillies fan, it goes without saying that I would love to have Albert Pujols on the team, but certainly not at the cost that it would take to acquire him, if he were even available for trade. I love me some Ryan Howard, don’t get me wrong, but the entire package it would take to acquire him wouldn’t be worth it. I figure that any offer would have to start with Howard, Jayson Werth, and at least three of our top five prospects, in addition to possibly a few other lower ranked prospects. It’s not worth mortgaging the future for. I was one of the few Phillies fans who actually thought that the trading of Cliff Lee to Seattle was a good move. I’ve suffered through a lot of years of terrible baseball, and while another World Series title or two in the next two years would be great, I would rather have a team out there who can compete for a title for the next 10+ years. Most of our stars are homegrown guys (Howard, Utley, Rollins, Hamels) and a few Rule-5 guys (Victorino, Werth), and we can’t just throw the entire farm system away for a chance to win right now.

    Comment by Matt Pennington
    March 18, 2010 at 9:51 am

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