Matt Holliday: Cardinal For Life

As a Cardinal fan, I’m keenly interested in the type of players my team acquires and keeps.  Earlier today, the Cardinals signed OF Matt Holliday to a 7-year – 120 million dollar deal.  I’ve seen the team spend very little (relatively by baseball standards) on their players opting to build from their farm club and picking up fixer-uppers to mold them in the Cardinal way.  This has been a decent strategy, but they were obviously in need of some additional power at the plate.  I am hoping that Holliday will continue to deliver as a back up for Pujols in the #4 spot.  Only time will tell if the trend of signing the big contract will ultimately diminish his performance.  This seems to happen to so many players.

The other issue at hand is resigning Pujols (and Wainwright and Carpenter, and Ludwick, etc.)   He is up for a new contract in a couple of years.  His current salary gives him around $14+ million a year (He’ll actually be making less than Holliday for a couple of years.)  This amount seems paltry, but five years ago when the deal was struck it seemed somewhat high for a young player.  I think that money has paid off with endless sellouts in Busch Stadium, gobs of Pujols merchandise, an NL pennant in 2004 and a World Championship in 2006. 

Some of the sports talking heads wonder if the Cardinals can actually afford to pay the going rate for a player like Pujols when his contract comes up for negotiation.  Looking at the salary level of the team, it’s pretty low when compared to many other teams.  Pujols will demand serious money, probably upwards of $30 million a year, and he’ll get it from someone.  Whether it’s the Cardinals or the Yankees, he’ll get the cash.  For a player of his ability any team would love to have him on their roster.  Not bad for a 13th round pick out of a Juco in KC. 

Let’s hope the Cardinals will take care of the Pujols thing sooner than later.  Putting a two-time MVP with his fabulous numbers on the open market could get extremely ugly, and Pujols knows it.  Don’t expect a “hometown discount” this time. 

Of course, this is just my opinion.

Rob’s Rant