Albert Pujols Not a Fit in Philadelphia

Over at Beerleaguer, Drew Silverman argues that the Phillies could make a trade for Albert Pujols, sending Ryan Howard and Joe Blanton away for the future first-ballot Hall of Famer. The rumor isn’t new — similar rumors popped up last year, which I begrudgingly addressed. And I will do the same nearly a year later. Let’s go through some of the supposed reasons why a trade makes sense and debunk them.

Despite Amaro’s denial, a Howard-for-Pujols deal made some sense. And this spring, a trade based around Howard and Joe Blanton for Pujols would make a lot of sense.

Not when he has no-trade rights and has vowed to veto any trade because he wants to test the market as a free agent. To quote Buster Olney,

[...] there are only two possible results in the negotiations in the Pujols talks: Either he signs a contract extension with the Cardinals, or he will become a free agent this coming fall.

Additionally, the Phillies signed Howard to a five-year, $125 million extension that goes potentially into 2017. Howard is about two months older than Pujols. Would you rather have Howard for the next six years at $145 million (his ’17 season can be bought out for $10 million rather than paying his $23 million salary), or Pujols at ten years, $300 million?

Here’s a look at Pujols and Howard in terms of WAR, per FanGraphs:

Assuming $5 million per win and five percent salary inflation every season, we can figure out how many wins each player must be worth to justify his salary. Here are the baseline salaries per WAR:

  • 2011: $5.0 million
  • 2012: $5.3 million
  • 2013: $5.5 million
  • 2014: $5.8 million
  • 2015: $6.1 million
  • 2016: $6.4 million
  • 2017: $6.7 million
  • 2018: $7.0 million
  • 2019: $7.4 million
  • 2020: $7.8 million
  • 2021: $8.1 million

For Howard to “break even” from 2011-17 — which is found by dividing his total salary by the average salary per one WAR listed above — he must put up 4.0, 3.8, 3.6, 4.3, 4.1, 3.9, and 3.4 WAR for a total of 27.2 WAR and an average of 3.9 WAR per season. In his five full seasons since 2006, Howard has compiled 20.5 WAR for an average of 4.1 WAR per season.

In order for Howard to justify his salary, he either has to have several incredibly good seasons where he vastly surpasses 4 WAR, or he needs to aggressively defy aging patterns, which is incredibly unlikely.

Assuming Pujols signs a ten-year, $300 million contract that pays him $30 million per season, to break even he must compile 3.2, 5.7, 5.4, 5.2, 4.9, 4.7, 4.5, 4.3, 4.1, 3.9, and 3.7 WAR for a total of 49.5 WAR and an average of 4.5 WAR per season. From 2001-10, Pujols compiled 80.6 WAR, averaging 8.1 WAR per season.

So you have Howard’s contract asking an average 4.1 WAR player to compile about 3.9 WAR per season through 2017, and Pujols’ contract asking an average 8.1 WAR player to compile about 4.5 WAR per season through 2021. If you had to bet on one player accomplishing his goal, you would be crazy not to bet on Pujols. Though his deal is longer and more expensive, he is more likely to live up to it than Howard.

Pujols reportedly is seeking 10 years in the neighborhood of $30 million per season. The Phillies wouldn’t give him that kind of money, but they could probably agree on a shorter deal with a higher annual salary.

Why would Pujols, at 31 years old, pass up an opportunity to sign a contract that will last the rest of his career to take less years and less total guaranteed money with the Phillies? Sure, the Phillies have good odds of winning another World Series in the next few years, but Pujols has already won a championship.

If the Phillies were to trade for Pujols, it would be on his terms since he holds the no-trade protection. He could refuse a trade unless the Phillies offer him the ten-year, $300 million contract he desires.

Additionally, trading for and signing Pujols (to a contract of any length) would make it tougher for the Phillies to retain Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson, and Jimmy Rollins. Not impossible, mind you, but tougher. The Phillies made room for Cliff Lee when the opportunity arose, but he was just a free agent — he didn’t cost any Major League players that had to be replaced.

The Howard-Pujols trade rumor is fun, and Phillies fans have grown accustomed to getting the best players in baseball, but this trade is virtually impossible.

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52 comments

  1. MplsPhilsFan

    February 28, 2011 08:52 AM

    Way to start my Monday off on a down note, Bill…….Even if it is completely illogical, I can still dream about Pujols in that lineup

  2. Scott G

    February 28, 2011 09:27 AM

    I don’t think the “right-handed bat in the lineup” reference has anything to do with LOOGYs. Even if it did, the lineup would be rid of Howard (he’d be part of getting Pujols). So your use of the analysis from your previous post doesn’t make a lot of sense. With a lineup of Polanco, Utley, and Pujols, I doubt they’d use a LOOGY.

    If I misunderstood something, sorry.

  3. Bill Baer

    February 28, 2011 09:39 AM

    Well the only reason why you would prefer a RH bat to a LH is because of the platoon difference, which is only strategically utilized by relief pitcher match-ups. Managers aren’t going to look at the Phillies’ lefty-heavy lineup and switch their starters around.

  4. Mark

    February 28, 2011 09:41 AM

    Your analysis is great as always and you always seem to kill my dreams yet I keep reading. One thing you didn’t take into consideration is the addition of Blanton in the deal. This wouldn’t be a Howard for Pujols deal it would be a Howard and Blanton for Pujols deal. With the loss of Wainwright for the year St. Louis has to be looking for a starter to replace him so that’s the main push of the deal. Heck I would throw Oswalt at them if I had to.
    The assumption that he would just veto the trade because of what he said previously to me isn’t a good arguement. People go back on their word all the time. I can’t imagine Pujols turning down playing in a relatively hitter friendly park with a great rotation and a solid line-up. Maybe I’m wrong and he thinks he can get 35mil a year from the Yankees. Maybe that is the case and he’s Rod Tidwell in the flesh.
    But what can I say… I can dream can’t I!

  5. Bill Baer

    February 28, 2011 09:53 AM

    The Cardinals would be giving up Pujols, which by itself is a huge blow to their competitiveness. If they really want to compete, giving up Pujols for Howard and Blanton is a net loss for 2011.

    Pujols: avg. 8 WAR

    Howard: avg. 4 WAR
    Blanton: avg. 3 WAR

    On average, the Cardinals would actually be losing 1 WAR, so they would be hoping for a great season from either or both of Howard and Blanton.

    (Of course, I don’t like using pitcher WAR, but it helps illustrate the scenario well.)

  6. Trade Ryan Howard

    February 28, 2011 10:10 AM

    I agree with most of your analysis (as my blog was created as a pipedream after all). I just find a few things in your argument I don’t agree with.

    I think it’s hard to discount the desire of a professional athlete to win championships. To argue that Pujols would rather take money than go to a contender is suspect at best. I know it’s not a central argument to your thesis, but I don’t think just because he won one championship he’s going to say “Screw it, I won one, let me go to the Nationals for the money.” See Cliff Lee, turning down 2 additional years and who knows how much from the Yanks. Jayson Werth may have sold out and now “hates” the Phillies, either for shock effect, out of jealousy [Lee trade after his signing] or both, but I think Pujols wants both money and to win and they are both something the Phillies can provide.

    Also I agree with the above commenter that you mostly discount the inclusion of any other players in the trade and/or some money to cover his salary. My observations have been that the Phillies are turning into the Yankees money wise (for good or evil) and will have the cash, especially after another sold out season ahead of them, and possibly several more in years to come. I think the Cardinals might bite if there were a few great high-risk high-reward pitching prospects and a few good bats (Ben Francisco may have a great year, who knows?)

    All in all it’s mostly fun to speculate. We both agree on that.

  7. Scott G

    February 28, 2011 10:10 AM

    Yea, I didn’t like the first sentence plus “Even if it did” of the next sentence. I don’t know why I didn’t get rid of it.

    Isn’t it true that the LHP vs LHB platoon match-up is more drastic than the RHP vs RHB platoon? Maybe he’s simply implying that if a lineup is RH heavy, that it simply tempers the platoon disadvantage?

    This really bugs me now. If people acknowledge the “need of a RH bat in the middle of the lineup”, then why were these same people/managers against the idea of using Werth to split up Utley and Howard. They see a problem, but don’t want to fix it.

  8. Bill Baer

    February 28, 2011 10:15 AM

    Re: Pujols agreeing to a trade… there is no evidence that he would do that. He’s said publicly (linked in the article) that he will veto any trade. You can speculate all you want, but you can’t simply assume that you know the player well enough to say that he would agree to a trade.

  9. SABR

    February 28, 2011 10:32 AM

    While I disagree with Scott G’s premise that “the “right-handed bat in the lineup” reference has anything to do with LOOGYs”, I do agree with him that the lineup you cite has little to do with your argument. Since this article is debunking a trade involving Howard for Pujols, the lineup that managers would have to go against would likely end up as Utley-Pujols-Ibanez, with much closer splits.

    vs. LHP 8.1-17.6-2.1 = 27.8
    vs. RHP 10.1-16.6-5.9 = 33.2

    This is the real scenario that managers would be facing, as getting Howard out of the equation makes it much closer and managers would be likely to have RHP come in to face Pujols/Ibanez since it might not “seem” to them that having a RHP face Ibanez is that bad of an idea, as his damage is relatively low compared to Howard’s splits. With managers like Baker and LaRussa out there, this is certain to play out in the Phillies advantage.

    That said…this trade will never happen and is just sports radio fodder.

  10. Bill Baer

    February 28, 2011 10:36 AM

    Yeah, good call SABR. So much for copy-pasting.

    Totally agree that it’s “just sports radio fodder.”

    EDIT: I just removed the RH lineup stuff.

  11. sean

    February 28, 2011 11:04 AM

    i need a @fansince09 analysis of ryan howard to justify trading him, as well as @the701level sabr breakdown of pujols

  12. awh

    February 28, 2011 11:30 AM

    Bill, first of all, I disagree with you in this respect: I don’t believe a Pujols/Howard trade is “virtually” impossible, because the modifier “virtually” does leave open the slightest chance that it could occur. I believe a trade is impossible, and has a LESS THAN ZERO chance of happening.

    One, we agree that Pujols is highly unlikely to agree to a trade. One thing you’ve forgotten, though, is that Howard has a LNTC, and would have to agree to the trade also. Don’t you think he’d want HIS option picked up in order to agree? How likely would STL be to agree to that? So, there’s more than just Pujols agreeing that would need to be solved.

    All that said, I don’t agree totally with the baseball reason of your analysis. Here’s on reason:

    Ryan Howard is a different hitter in Busch III than he is even in the friendly confines of the ‘Zen.

    Lifetime at the ‘Zen: .279/.377/.575

    Lifetime at BuschIII: .388/.520/.738

    Now, I realize that his performance in STL is against Cardinals’ pitching, and also that it’s only 102 PA, but still, that’s a pretty phenominal performance by any player in any ballpark. How much of it can be explained away by the opposing pitchers he was facing?

    So, my point (I’ll get to it) is that Howard, while certainly no Pujols, may actually see an uptick in performance if he were traded to STL due to the ballpark – for whatever reason. If that happens, it somewhat narrows the gap in his contract and expected WAR.

    Howard/Blanton is a step down from just Pujols (I think most agree), but the trade still makes sense for the Cards in a baseball sense from this perspective:

    Their choice is not Pujols or Howard/Blanton. Their choice right now is Pujols or 2 draft picks.

    But we agree the trade won’t happen, for the reasons you listed, the one I added above, and one last reason you didn’t mention:

    The Cardinals reportedly offered Pujols approximately $21MM season, with various lengths of contract being reported. If the Cardinals are not even willing to top what Ryan Howard is making in order to retain Pujols, why in the world would they agree to take on Howard’s contract for a lesser player?

    Lastly, the PR hit the Cards would take by trading away Pujols without trying to sign him as an FA (after the season and after his MV is determined) would be enormous, and probably hurt their standing with their fans – at elast temporarily.

  13. SABR

    February 28, 2011 11:37 AM

    A less than zero chance of happening? How much less than zero? Negative infinity – 1?

  14. SABR

    February 28, 2011 11:38 AM

    Oh also…102 ABs is not significant (obviously, given his numbers, but still)

    500 PA: OBP, SLG, OPS, 1B Rate, Popup Rate

  15. Frank K

    February 28, 2011 11:56 AM

    The Cardinals have no intention of keeping Albert past this season or they would have made a more realistic offer a few weeks ago. If the Phillies want to spend the money and make Pujols a megabucks long-term offer this could happen–but that must be BEFORE any prospective trade is finalized. They would also have to pay some of Howard’s future salary. Otherwise they should not give Howard and Blanton away for a one-year rental.

    Albert might not know this yet, but NOBODY is giving him his $300 million dollar ten-year deal. But there are a few teams that may come close at least on the $30 million per year part and one of those teams is the Phillies.

    It’s a longshot for sure but so was Cliff Lee. And the Cardinals’ season is toast already, therefore keeping Albert on board to go for another Series title is a losing proposition. He may just agree to leave St. Louis now and not next winter-depends on how much he wants to win, as opposed to just getting filthy rich. Hopefully Cliff Lee started something in MLB in that players will no longer gravitate to the Yankees just because that’s where the money is.

  16. Bill Baer

    February 28, 2011 11:57 AM

    Also, StatCorner has Busch Stadium with a left-handed park factor of 80 while Citizens Bank Park has a whopping 116. CBP also has a much higher RH PF, beating Busch 73 to 120.

    Along with the rather insignificant sample of 102 PA and aging patterns, I don’t think we can make the statement that Howard’s production would get better.

  17. Phylan

    February 28, 2011 12:18 PM

    Just piling on that, even if Pujols were to waive his 10/5 rights, the Cardinals could get much better return than Howard/Blanton, in all likelihood.

  18. SABR

    February 28, 2011 12:23 PM

    Frank K –

    “Hopefully Cliff Lee started something in MLB in that players will no longer gravitate to the Yankees just because that’s where the money is.”

    I know its a great story and all, but Cliff Lee really didn’t take less money to come to back here. He took a 5/$120m contract (with a $15mil club option to make it 6/$135m) instead of the Yankees offer of 6/$132m (with higher NY tax rates and cost of living). I don’t know why people report this deal as a discount.

    He gave up the guarantee of a 6th year from the Yankees for the Phillies team option, so its a slight loss there, but he “gambled” with only the last $15m of the deal and took a premium of $3m more than the Yankees offered to do so. With inflation in salaries, $15m is likely to be what your Joe Blanton-level pitchers are getting in 2016, so even if his option is not picked up as long as he is not permanently injured he will get a contract of about the same value that year with another club.

  19. awh

    February 28, 2011 01:06 PM

    Actually, I’d like to address this:

    ” gravitate to the Yankees just because that’s where the money is.”

    It was in an article on another site (SI, I think) but the Yankees have not been the ones to offer most of the highest contracts in MLB. Just a couple of examples:

    ARoid – Texas, not the Yankees
    Zito – SanFran, not the Yankees
    Howard – Phillies, not Yanks
    Hampton, COL not Yanks
    Sarge, Jr. – Angels
    Torii Hunter – Angels
    Manny – Bosox
    Drew – Bosox
    Rowand – Giants
    Beltran – Mets
    Soriano – Cubs
    Dice-K – Bosox
    Werth – Nats

    While the Yankees have surely had their fair share of high dollar signings, a lot of the contracts that we now view as bad contracts were agreed to by other teams.

    The Yankees are going to do what they do, but there are a lot of other teams that have not done themselves any good, and hurt their own competitiveness.

  20. Scott G

    February 28, 2011 01:28 PM

    Take a look at the names you listed. The only players on that list worth a significant contract (NOT NECESSARILY SAYING THE CONTRACT THEY RECEIVED, BUT SOMETHING MORE SUBSTANTIAL THAN AVERAGE cough cough Werth) are ARod, Manny, and Beltran. I certainly think Drew is debatable as are Howard and Werth. Maybe the bottom line is the Yankees are smarter than those other teams.

  21. Mike B.

    February 28, 2011 01:47 PM

    Because this is an intellectual exercise anyway, I’m going to look at it from one perspective: if you’re John Mozeliak, do you make this deal? I think you do, or you at least seriously consider it.

    While it may be true that Pujols is a far better value at 10 years/30 per, value is irrelevant if you can’t afford the asking price. And from all indications, the Cardinals cannot. It doens’t mater if a Porsche really does offer more performance/dollar than a Mustang if the Porsche is out of my price range. The reality seems to be that at the end of September, Albert Pujols is walking out of that clubhouse and leaving the Cardinals with (essentially) nothing.

  22. SABR

    February 28, 2011 02:30 PM

    There have been 26 MLB contracts worth $100m or more. The Yankees have given out 4 of the top 6 richest contracts in MLB history in total dollar term amounts (A-Rod, Jeter, Tex, CC), but only 1 of the next 20. And the A-Rod Yankee contract is #1, not the Ranger one (275 vs 252).

    Just for fun, next up is the Rockies with 3 (Helton, Tulo and Hampton) then the Phils, Red Sox, Mets and Cardinals all with 2 of these deals.

  23. Dave

    February 28, 2011 03:35 PM

    Shoulda kept [Travis] Lee.

  24. hk

    February 28, 2011 04:39 PM

    As much as we (Phillies fans) might want to dream about such a deal, even if Pujols would accept a trade here, it seems far-fetched to me that STL’s budget is such that they are willing to let Pujols walk via free agency after this year, but they would take on Howard’s contract (not to mention $17M owed to Blanton). Howard is slated to make $4M more than Pujols this year and he’s going to get either $25M per year from 2012-2016 (if his 2017 option is declined) or $23M per year from 2012-2017 (if his option is picked up).

  25. Frank K

    February 28, 2011 11:19 PM

    Phylan–Phillies would have to throw in a couple prospects-one being high end, but no other team can offer a Howard-level player. Blanton is almost as good of a starter as they can get their hands on. Heck, they gave Kyle “DL” Lohse 11 million a year so Blanton looks like a bargain in comparison. This prospective trade would be most desirable to the Cardinals front office because as of now Albert is going to walk in 7 months, leaving nothing but two draft picks and about 10 million livid fans in the midwest calling for Mozeliak’s scalp.

    hk–Phils would take care of money issues by paying part of Howard’s salary. Remember that we are only a few years away from the Phillies’ super cable TV deal.

    And my Cliff Lee statement applies more to this coming off-season. The Yankees, after being embarrassed on the field and in the front office, will be offering money bombs all over the place to sign almost every high end free agent in sight, including Albert. They’ll DH him or Tex if they have to.

  26. Scott G

    February 28, 2011 11:41 PM

    No other team could offer a Howard-level player?

    I mean you really didn’t qualify that statement, so basically you’re saying that Howard is the 2nd best player in baseball?

    I mean right off the top of my head, players who are more valuable than Howard, who aren’t on the Phillies:

    Votto
    Cargo
    Tulo
    ARod
    Teixeira
    Adrian Gonzalez
    Joe Mauer
    Hanley Ramirez
    Hamilton
    Zimmerman
    Holliday
    Longoria
    Werth

    Now, I’m not saying their teams would be interested in trading these players away, but they most certainly CAN offer them.

  27. Frank K

    March 01, 2011 12:56 AM

    Scott–I’m talking about a current real world trade scenario as the Cardinal front office would view it; and Holliday is already a Cardinal! Tulo, Votto, Gonzalez and Werth, all recently signed, are going nowhere. And none of these guys are St. Louis natives as Howard is. There are tangibles and intangibles involved here. That’s why the national press has speculated over this happening for months now, and why that speculation isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

  28. Scott G

    March 01, 2011 07:02 AM

    If you believe Howard + Blanton + prospect is a “real world trade scenario” then there’s no point in discussing this.

    Your statement was “No other team can offer a Howard level player”. Technically, any team can offer those players up, and to be quite honest, I think that aside from Werth’s contract, these new contracts with Gonzalez, Votto, and Tulo would actually suit the Cardinals side of things better, no?

    If the Cardinals aren’t going to meet Pujols’s demands for cash, then wouldn’t it make sense to get near replacements for him at a bargain value?

    I’m not under the illusion that anything will happen, but from the Cardinals standpoint, they could get Adrian Gonzalez or Votto (both better than Howard) for cheaper. That sounds like a deal the Cards might like.

  29. hunterfan

    March 01, 2011 08:52 AM

    “I’m not under the illusion that anything will happen, but from the Cardinals standpoint, they could get Adrian Gonzalez or Votto (both better than Howard) for cheaper. That sounds like a deal the Cards might like.”

    I’m pretty sure the dude’s point was not that there were not better players than Howard out there, but that Howard was likely the best player the Cards were likely to get.

    Alot of the guys you mention are from smaller market teams. I don’t see the Rockies or Reds trading Tulo, Votto, etc for Pujols as a one year rental and knowing they won’t be able to sign him to a 10 yr/$300 mil contract.

  30. Scott G

    March 01, 2011 09:09 AM

    Seriously? How good of a chance do you think that there is that the Cardinals and Phillies swap some combination for Howard and Pujols? If it’s not greater than 1% then I don’t see how my use of those also unlikely trade scenarios is any different. Except that, they’re cheaper and better than Howard, cheaper than Pujols, and signed more long-term.

  31. Mike B.

    March 01, 2011 09:35 AM

    Scott- Geez, you’re a lot of fun. I thought we all know this was an intellectual exercise, but it still needs to be grounded in some semblance of reality. The scenario assumes that the Cards would be willing to trade Pujols and that he would be willing to go. It clearly doesn’t assume that every team has the ability to take on a 10 year, $300 million contract. There are only a couple of teams who could do that. The point is, if the Cardinals came to the Phils with that deal, would the Phils pull the trigger? Probably. Would the Rockies or the Reds? No way.

  32. Scott G

    March 01, 2011 09:46 AM

    The team doesn’t need to be able to take on a 10 year $300 million dollar contract.

    All the team needs is to be a contender around the trade deadline.

    If the Cardinals are out of contention around that point, and determine they will not be able to re-sign him in the off season, why not try to trade him? Who would be looking? Someone trying to go all in this season, and not fully concerned with retaining him in the future (i.e. Rangers with Cliff Lee in 2010). This would fit the Cardinals because they could EASILY build their team up immediately, and could serve the contending team by adding the best hitter in baseball immediately.

    Now obviously, it wouldn’t make sense to trade Tulo for Pujols if in contention (just one example), but I’m not saying it had to be those players at this point. I just brought them up because saying “no other team can offer a Howard level player” is just not true.

  33. Mike B.

    March 01, 2011 11:18 AM

    I guess that was the point, though…while there might be a team willing to pay that heavy of a price for a few months of Pujols, I would be surprised. On the other hand, a team that could afford to lock him up would be much more willing to trade away a lot of value, and the Phils are one of those few teams. Looking at that set of teams, Howard is one of the best pieces they could get back. So it’s not necessarily that no other team has a Howard-level player they COULD give up (as you pointed out, there are lots of those guys out there), but there is a very small number of teams that WOULD give up a Howard-level player, and those are teams with the ability to lock up Pujols. another is perhaps the Yankees, who would probably happily trade Texiera in such a deal.

    I agree with you that it makes zero sense for the Cards to not try to trade him if they don’t think they can re-sign him, or if they think that re-signing him will cripple their ability to do anything else. It goes back to my example above of the Porsche and the Mustang; even if the Porsche might offer more performance/dollar, if I can’t afford the Porsche in any case, I’d buy the Mustang.

  34. Frank K

    March 01, 2011 01:36 PM

    Scott/Mike: Looking at it from the teams’ point of view right now forgets about who has all the power in this trade talk. If Albert has already drawn the line at the start of spring training, he sure as heck is not going to approve a trade in July. It’s a matter of pride and he refuses to be treated like a piece of meat. Nobody knows how upset he is with the Cardinals right now, but agreeing to a July trade would save the Cardinals face, big money and get them some talent in return on Albert’s departure. If he is upset and hurt about this now, he’s not going to do Mozeliak that big of a favor on his way out the door.

    That’s why I believe the only way he agrees to a trade is if it is done now and he signs an extension now with the new team. Many of the would-be renters at July 31 would have no intention of signing him long term so don’t look for such a trade to happen. He has the power to say no to everybody.

    Albert knows that by the Cardinals making him a joke of an offer {$21 million} that they had no intention of keeping him long term. If he wants to be vengeful at this point and walk at the end of the season with the Cardinals getting nothing but a couple teenagers in return I wouldn’t blame him one bit.

    With all that said, the Phillies are one of the few teams in a position to take advantage of this situation. They would be in an even better position if Rueben hadn’t given Howard the time and money extension during the season.

  35. hk

    March 01, 2011 05:07 PM

    Frank K: You wrote, “The Phils would take care of money issues by paying part of Howard’s salary. Remember that we are only a few years away from the Phillies’ super cable TV deal.”

    How much do you think the Phillies would have to pay to STL to make Howard’s contract affordable? I say somewhere in the ballpark of $35M. Super cable TV deal or not, I believe the Phils would balk at giving up Blanton and a prospect, paying $300M to extend Pujols through 2021 and paying $35M to STL to apply towards Howard’s contract.

  36. JB Allen

    March 01, 2011 06:00 PM

    Crank up the wishful thinking: trade Howard, Blanton and Brown for Pujols and Rasmus. La Russa can’t stand Rasmus, anyway.

  37. Nells

    March 01, 2011 08:48 PM

    Scott G You seriously underate the “Value” Ryan Howard has. 1st how you can even use J.D Fricken Drew and Ryan Howard in the same equation is beyond me lol. Other than his off year last year his 6th. Was the rookie of the year(approx half season). Plus Won the MVP or finished in the top 5 (2,3 & 5)in MVP voting in his 1st 4 full seasons in which he average 50HR 143RBI 102R. The ONLY guy on your list in the same stratosphere is AROD. If you are in the middle of the order producing/driving in runs is what it is all about and nobody does it better than Howard. Ryan Zimmerman,Jason Werth,Matt Holiday, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez,Mark Teixeira better than Howard? Zimmerman and Werth aren’t even worth lol debating. The Phillies who had both Werth and Howard showed who they “Valued” more. Hamilton can’t stay out of trouble/healthy plus even hitting .359 and more HR than Howard 32/31 he still had less RBI 100 than Than Howard 108 had in an off year. As for Holliday,Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez their main job is to hit homers and drive in runs and they just don’t compare to Howards numbers. Although it will be interesting to see if Gonzalez can come close to Howard’s numbers in Fenway.

  38. Mike B.

    March 01, 2011 09:36 PM

    Frank- you are absolutely right about Pujols holding all the cards (pardon the pun)…this all needs to assume that he changes his mind regarding a trade.

  39. Scott G

    March 01, 2011 11:30 PM

    Nells,

    Are you really going to bring RBIs to the table on this site? I don’t want to seem like a jerk here, so I wish someone would respond as well.

    Ever hear of WAR? Wins Above Replacement. It normalizes things. It really weighs important factors that isolate biased things such as how unfair it is for Gonzalez to hit in Petco. it also doesn’t take into account that Howard has batter in one of the best lineups in baseball, behind Chase Ucking Futley.

    You would gain a lot more credibility on here if you cited that stat rather than RBIs.

    From 2008-2010, Here is the list of the leading WARs:

    Pujols
    Utley
    Longoria
    Ramirez
    Mauer
    Holliday
    Zimmerman
    Teixeira
    Votto
    Youkilis
    Gonzalez
    McCann
    Wright
    Crawford
    Werth
    Pedroia
    Cabrera
    ARod
    Ichiro
    Braun
    Fielder
    Beltre
    Choo
    Jeter
    Jones
    Hamilton
    Tulowitzki
    Berkman
    Morneau
    Uggla
    Kinsler
    Rolen
    Drew
    Markakis
    Victorino

    WAR takes into account defense, position, and baserunning.

    I’ll be generous. I’ll just look at hitting value. Keep in mind all of this is taken from fangraphs.com

    Pujols
    Cabrera
    Holliday
    Votto
    Gonzalez
    Fielder
    Teixeira
    Hanley
    Mauer
    Braun
    Youkilis
    Utley
    Choo
    Dunn
    ARod
    Wright
    Berkman
    Werth
    Morneau
    Longoria
    Hamilton
    Ryan Howard

  40. awh

    March 02, 2011 12:49 AM

    Scott, so WAR is the be-all-end all stat?

  41. awh

    March 02, 2011 01:03 AM

    Scott, so WAR is the only stat on which we should rely?

  42. hk

    March 02, 2011 06:51 AM

    awh,

    WAR is not the be-all and end-all stat, but it is probably better than any other at comparing all players because it includes defense and also adjusts for position value. You could use a stat like wOBA, which I believe is as good as any other individual stat to measure offense, but it would not include defense or adjust for position. By the way, Ryan Howard ranks 26th in wOBA over the past three years. Add in his sub-par to mediocre defense at a position where replacement level is much higher and you probably find that Scott G’s list using WAR is pretty accurate.

  43. Scott G

    March 02, 2011 09:19 AM

    Echoing hk. Not necessarily the bottom line, but definitely better than RBIs which relies largely on a player’s teammates being on base.

    I think it also passes the smell test, no? Look at the names on the list.

  44. chris

    March 03, 2011 03:46 PM

    I did a little piece on this topic, at best I’d say that Amaro kicks the tires on it….of course, even doing that depends on Howard’s 2011 regular season and playoffs. If he has a sub-par playoff, I say RAJ at least take a test drive…

  45. diego

    March 04, 2011 02:08 PM

    In what world is a Howard/Blanton for Pujols deal fair?? You Philly fans are ridiculous in how one-sided you think a trade for Pujols would favor the Phillies. To successfully trade for Pujols the Phils would have to give up their top hitting and pitching prospects. Not two players who are around the same age, one being a lesser 1B both offensively and defensively whose numbers have been declining for years and the other a bottom of the rotation pitcher (99 ERA+ is definitely not for top of rotation pitchers). Obviously you do not understand anything about how a baseball front office works if you think the Cardinals would just gift away the player who holds the most trade value in the majors for two players on the decline. Get your head out of the clouds. And those that say Philadelphia could afford an annual salary of nearly $30M for Pujols, dream on. The Cliff Lee signing pushed their budget to the limit, maybe they can afford another $10M next offseason but definitely not $20M or greater. Pujols will never be a Philly, and he probably won’t be a Cardinal after this season either.

  46. diego

    March 04, 2011 11:12 PM

    I read the article. Obviously I’m not commenting on what the article says but the people proposing that the Cardinals would ever agree to trade Pujols for a package involving a mediocre pitcher like Blanton. Did I ever say “Bill you’re an idiot for saying Howard/Blanton for Pujols make sense?” No, I don’t think I did.

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