September 22, 2011

#StlCards re-sign Berkman; Pujols meaning?

The AP reports that the St. Louis Cardinals have announced they have re-signed OF/1B Lance Berkman. And per the story, everybody is wondering: Does this make it more, or less likely they re-sign Albert Pujols?

I would say the tea leaves haven't steeped enough to tell; let's wait until the offseason.

But, not to offer no comment.

I'd say it makes it easier to take a pass on The Machine IF that's the team's choice. Note this comment from John Mozeliak:
Mozeliak said Berkman's contract left the Cardinals flexibility to get a deal done with Pujols.
"Getting into payroll and where we're going to be, I know that's a hot topic for you gentleman, but it's not real relevant at the moment," Mozeliak said. "A lot of factors go into that and where we see that going will really depend on how things trend this offseason."
However, Pujols is making it harder to "pass." He's got his BA back above .300 and is just three  two RBIs short of 100. He's already got "his" 30 HRs, putting him on pace to continue his streak of .300/30/100 years. Except for a 99-run season in 2007, he would have the same streak in runs scored. And, at the same time, Berkman says he's comfortable with one-year contracts:
"I'm at a point in my career where I'm OK going one year at a time," Berkman said. "I don't know how much longer I want to play or that I'll be able to play at a high level.
Translation, if not obvious: Don't lean too much on him.

I think the Cards have to offer a minimum of six years, not counting options, and one year, at least, that's better than that of Alex Rodriguez  if they want to re-sign Pujols Getting Berkman relatively cheaply, even if just a one-year deal, and inking a relatively cheap two-year extension with Chris Carpenter makes that possible, while letting them take a longer look at the middle infield (and NO, re-signing Furcal is not it).

Six years, $160M plus two mutual option years, with second year, say, at a flat $30M? Would Pujols do that? I'd say 50-50, at least. Will Mo offer that? Certainly not to start, and I'd say less than 50-50 as a final offer.

Meanwhile, back to Mo's comments. Was he sending any other message to Pujols, like "it's OK to negotiate in midseason" or ... "we're ready to deal, are you" ...  or "this should be a signal as to our 'numbers' " ... or anything else?

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