Many questions have been pouring in through our new BaseballSTL app since the start of the baseball. Who will step up with Adam Wainwright out for the year? Can the bullpen shut down hitters in the late innings? Will the Cardinals resign Pujols at the end of the year?
But this week we posed questions to our Cardinal bloggers that if the Redbird don’t re-sign Pujols, is it possible the Cubs will sign him and what impact will it have on both organizations?
“Sure, it could happen, and the smart money might actually be on the Cubs to win the Pujols bidding war. The Yankees and Red Sox, the only two teams with a higher payroll than the Cubs last year, already have first basemen for the foreseeable future. So if Pujols isn't willing to accept the Cardinals' highest offer, the Cubs (who signed Carlos Pena to a one-year deal this year) will be poised to assume Pujols's huge new contract. It would not be unlike the impact of Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby getting traded after playing the first 12 years of his career as a Cardinal, Jim Bottomley leaving after 11 or Joe Medwick leaving after eight and a half. Each of those players continued his success with his new team but didn't come close to repeating his numbers with the Cardinals, and that will likely be the case with Pujols. The Cubs would love it for a few years but lament the high cost of Pujols's decline years. Then again, it may be worth it to them.”
-Matt Philip, Fungoes.net
"Absolutely it could happen, why not? If Pujols signs elsewhere, I think Cardinal fan reactions will be largely dependent upon the contract he receives. There will no doubt be the unwavering percentage that will believe the Cards should have signed him no matter the cost. No changing their minds. On the flip-side, there are liable to be those that think he’d be too pricey regardless the price. No changing their minds either. It’s the middle ground, the group that can see value in both retaining him and spending that money elsewhere to fill multiple needs – those folks will be the ones ultimately influencing the perceived reaction of the fanbase. So if the deal is reasonable for the Cardinals, and they don’t make it – could get ugly. If Pujols goes to the Cubs for 12 years and $400 million? Sayonara, thanks for the good times.
As for helping or handcuffing the Cubs, I think they have the some of the same concerns as the Cardinals. The Cubs aren’t quite the Yankees yet, able to throw money around and absorb bad contracts at will. If he signs a huge deal and halfway through starts to show the signs of aging that so many are concerned about, then it will handcuff the Cubs. Help at the beginning, handcuff at the end. Again, same concerns as the Cardinals will have giving him much longer than an eight-year deal.
Perhaps the more important question of Cardinal Nation is, will they boo?"
"Sure, it could happen that Pujols ends up a Chicago Cub, but if he reaches free agency, there will be a number of other deep-pocketed teams after him, as well. No one can argue with Pujols’ fit on the North Side, however, as one of the most consistent outputs of Jim Hendry’s tenure as Cubs general manager has been a series of very bad contracts. They range from Milton Bradley to Kosuke Fukudome to Alfonso Soriano and the list goes on and on. Not that Pujols would be a bad contract initially, but given the time and money it would take to get him in Cubbie blue, it could easily end up being another albatross in 8-10 years. For example, $30 million per year for a 40-plus year old first baseman in a league with no designated hitter feels a lot like a Hendry-kind of deal. If Pujols walks, the Cardinals will survive."
-Brian Walton, TheCardinalNationBlog.com
"Could it happen? Sure. It's also possible I could win the lottery, though being that I don't play, the chances are pretty slim.
I'm sure that Chicago will come knocking with a significant offer, but Albert has always said he wants to win. He doesn't seem to be the kind that wants the challenge of leading a team to a winning season, he wants to win every season. That's not something that Chicago can boast. Couple that with the fact that he destroys his reputation in this town, goes from an iconic figure in baseball to just another great player, and most importantly likely dries up a lot of the funding sources for the Pujols Family Foundation in St. Louis while not necessarily tapping an equal number in Chicago and I don't see that it makes a lot of sense for him to go to the north side."
-Daniel Shoptaw, Cardinal70.com
"It's important to remember that the Cubs aren't alone in their desire for Albert Pujols. Every baseball team in MLB would like to have him on their team precisely because he's the best player in the game right now. Among the clubs who are likely to bid though, the Cubs make some sense. They don't have anyone with a permanent lock or long term contract at first and they haven't been afraid to spend copiously on free agents in the past. The angst this generates among Cardinal fans seems misplaced though. It's still very early in the season and there are so many unknowns about exactly what Pujols is looking for in a team. The Cubs often tumultuous clubhouse environment doesn't seem like a good match for Pujols nor does the idea of doing real potential damage to his legacy in St. Louis seem appetizing. Contract negotiations are an opaque process at best and it's not worth the anxiety to fret over this one . . . yet."
-Tim McCullough, FutureRedbirds.net
"It'd be like Jeter or Rivera going to the Red Sox. Coach K going to North Carolina. Favre going to the Vikings... wait, that one happened. Anyway, I just don't see Albert Pujols going to the Cubs and for a few reasons. 1) New Cubs ownership hasn't expressed the desire to spend a bunch of money in free agency as has previous ownership. Ultimately, that's what has put them in the quandary they are in. Good team on paper with a big payroll, but lack of performance on the field. 2) If Albert is the man we think he is, I don't see him going to the Cardinals' greatest rivals unless they are the only offer on the table. I think he respects the Cardinals' organization too much. 3) This might come off a bit harsh, but Albert has said he wants to win and I doubt he goes anywhere that doesn't afford him that opportunity. The Cubs haven't been a winning team very often in my lifetime.
The Cubs are in huge need of completely dismantling and rebuilding that team, when you look at their attitude issues on the team you can see it. Adding Albert Pujols to a dysfunctional team isn't going to make it a winner when the players can't even get along. They have bigger issues to solve first and I hope they can solve them because I'd love a rekindling of the Cubs/Cards rivalry."
-Jon Doble, RedbirdDugout.com