Cardinals Dig In; MLB Losing It’s Sanity?

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On the cusp of spring training, the Cardinals have less than 24 hours from this Tuesday night writing to make Albert Pujols happy. That’s the deadline he set for ceasing all contract extension negotiations. Seeing that the talks were stalled, outfielder Matt Holliday, due to make more than Pujols this year, agreed to place more of his salary in deferred payments to satisfy the big one’s demands.

While noble, that will not be enough to prevent Pujols from leaving after the season. At $30 million per year for 10 years, he is asking for the type of long-term deal Alex Rodriguez got from the Rangers. Rodriguez was 32 at the time; Pujols is 31.

If there is any player worth this kind of money it is Albert Pujols. There is no more fearsome hitter in the majors. His career-to-date stats are mind-boggling. After 10 years in the league he has averaged 42 Home Runs, 128 RBI and .331 Avg. His career OPS is a staggering 1.050 and WAR is 83.8.

By comparison, Rodriguez’ first 10 full seasons’ stats look like this: 42 Home Runs, 121 RBI,  .313 AVG. His OPS was .973 and WAR 76.1.

The Cardinals must be thinking that paying Pujols $30 million per year 8-10 years out when his skills will be diminished and in a league without a DH is not very prudent. A more amenable offer would be $30 million per year for 6 years. Years 7,8,9 and 10 could be constructed to pay him a base salary of, say, $20 million per year with performance incentives and deferred payments,

Last year, former Braves’ manager Bobby Cox said that Pujols may become the first $50 million per year player. While, even in this day of prodigious salaries, that number is still a little far-fetched there is no doubt that Albert Pujols deserves to be the highest paid player in history.

The Cardinals know it, their fans know it, his teammates know it and the baseball universe knows it. It would be a shame to see Albert Pujols in a different uniform in 2012 but that’s what will probably happen unless the Cardinals prey on his conscience or pony up to the man.

Is This His Last Year in Cardinal Red?

MLB Discusses Playoff Expansion

Believe it or not, MLB is considering expanding the playoffs possibly as early as 2012. This is a bad idea! The season is already too long. In fact, to prevent baseball being played in November this season will start on March 31.

So, in light of this change, how on earth does expanding the playoffs make sense? Adding one more wild card team to each league will mean five teams will be in the playoffs. That’s at least one extra round. I’m sure the teams with the best overall record in each league will get a bye, meaning at least a week off before playing again. Unlike football where a week’s rest is normally to a team’s advantage, baseball is structured to be played everyday. A week off ruins the rotation, throws off the hitters’ timing and could quell the fans interest especially during the NFL season.

Unlike other professional leagues, baseball has a grueling 162 game schedule. Only the teams with the best won/loss records should play in the post-season. Four from each league has proven to be a popular format.

As long as they are considering changes, here is a better idea: the four teams with the best record in each league should make the playoffs, regardless of the division. Rewarding a mediocre team who plays in a weak division in lieu of a good team playing in a stronger division is unjustified.  Second, there would be no “wild card” series, only four strong teams going at it.  Also, to shorten the playoff season consider playing a 3-4 format instead of the current 2-3-2 which includes at least two travel days.

The home field advantage is overrated anyway. According to a series of recent articles by Baseball Prospective’s Matt Swartz, the home team wins 54% of the time. In a three game series, only the middle game has a decided home field advantage. For the fascinating series, log-on to and search “home field advantage”.

The only plausible reason for adding more teams to the postseason is so obvious that even a Polynesian person with no exposure to American culture could figure it out. It’s because baseball once again is worshiping in Temple Dollar. It will erode the outcome of the season and prolong it beyond a reasonable length. What next, the MLB’s version of the Super Bowl ? An indoor series played at a neutral site just after Thanksgiving?

This Week’s Hall of Fame Discussion: Andy Pettitte

Seeing as the first of the “core four”, Yankees’ pitcher Andy Pettitte, has announced his retirement, it is only natural to begin to think about his career and whether or not he is Hall-Worthy.

One inviting stat is that he is the All-Time leader in postseason wins with 19. While his 5 World Series wins are modest compared to all-time leader Whitey Ford’s 10, he did rack up 14 LCS and DCS wins. A clutch postseason performer.

He averaged 17 wins over 16 seasons with a lifetime ERA of 3.88 with 2,251 strikeouts. In 1996, he led the league with 21 wins. All impressive.

Upon further review, however, he does not compare well to other Hall of Fame pitchers.  The only categories where he cracked the Top 50 were in W/L pct. (43rd) and strikeouts (48th).

Of the four measurements of HOF standards used by Baseball Reference, Pettitte is above the median in two. So, despite a great career, his stats do not warrant Hall of Fame induction, but, having played for the Yankees will give him a big leg up since many former pinstripers are in the Hall who don’t deserve to be.

Playing For The Yankees Will Help His Chances

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