- 12/23/2011, 02:51AM ET
Mrlns Fn said 12/23, 02:51 AM
Disclaimer for anyone who's searching for a loophole argument: obviously losing Pujols is going to hurt; I'm not saying Beltran is an upgrade.
Anyway, I've been hearing some chatter on FN about how this wasn't a good signing for St. Louis, or how Beltran is overrated, or how they should've spent their money elsewhere... etc.
I'm saying Beltran is going to help the Cardinals.
I realize that he's not as fast as he used to be and that he is no longer the slick fielder he once was.
But the man can still rake.
Last year Beltran split time with the Mets and Giants, two offensively-challenged teams. There was not a whole lot of protection for Beltran in either lineup, and I believe that when he was traded to San Fran it took some time to adjust, as evidenced by his ice-cold start there.
But, even with those factors working against him, Beltran still finished 2011 with some good numbers:
.300 BA, .385 OBP, .910 OPS, 22 HR, 84 RBI
Also Beltran can play any OF spot in a pinch, although he is admittedly not best-suited playing CF.
Plus, having Beltran in the lineup gives new manager Mike Matheny two key switch hitters (Beltran and Berkman).
C-C-C said 12/23, 07:13 AM
Beltran could help any team under the right circumstances, of course.
But in these circumstances, he's being paid $13mil/yr for two years with a full no-trade clause. That's a lot of jack for a guy who will be 35 shortly after opening day.
The problem is St. Louis needed someone who actually plays 1st base in addition to picking up some of the offensive slack left by Pujols departure.
Beltran is expected to play right field per the above link.
What about Lance Berkman?
He's under contract through next season as well. A Year older than Beltran, and not as productive obviously, but what do you do with him? For $12mil, you don't bench the guy, do you?
Clearly Beltran is an upgrade over Berkman at this point in their careers, but is he a big enough upgrade to bench that kind of pay check? And does doing so even touch on making up for the loss of Albert's bat? It better, because now you are combining to pay two RF's the same money Albert is making.
Shoulda kept Pujols. And LaRussa. :)
Mrlns Fn said 12/24, 01:05 AM
Well Berman is going to be the Cardinals regular first baseman, which is actually a case of killing two birds with one stone for St. Louis.
A, they fill their hole at first base.
B, they get Berman's immobile **** out of the outfield.
On another note, I'm not so sure that Berkman's production is falling off. He may be getting a little long in the tooth, but the man can still rake.
Berkman's 2011 stats: .301 BA, .412 OBP, .959 OPS, 31 HR, 94 RBI
Those numbers are ridiculously good, and I don't see any reason to believe that Berkman is taling off or has even started to decline. And if you consider how well he played in the postseason he becomes even more valuable.
Losing Pujols sucks for a variety of reasons, but that blow is softened by the Beltran acquisition.
Let's break it down. If the options were to either pay Pujols and lose Berkman or lose Pujols but keep Berkman and sign Beltran, I think St. Louis definitely made the right call.
Beltran's and Berkman's combined output exceeds that of Pujols on it's own, and the versatility of having two very good switch hitters in your lineup is nothing to sneeze at.
I agree on TLR, though. :)
C-C-C said 12/24, 05:13 AM
Certainly Berkman is going to first base now. Is that a good option?
Well, no. It's not. Berkman is a butcher at 1st these days and belongs in the OF. Don't believe me? well, how about some educated Cards fans?
could there be other options besides Fielder to man first base allowing Lance Berkman to stay in the outfield where he belongs?
That from one of the top Cards fan sites, redbird rants. There are dozens of others. Lance is not well thought of at first by those who know him best.
Lance is gonna be 36. That's ancient in post-steroids baseball. He's not a very good first baseman and let's not forget he's just a year removed from hitting .248 with a 112 OPS+...definitely NOT acceptable from your first baseman.
Beltran and Berkman's combined output being better than Pujols a year ago doesn't mean much. If the Cards still had Pujols, they would STILL have -someone- in RF so it's not like you can use two guys to replace his offensive output. You can't. And the other two are OLD.
In a vacuum Beltran is a good signing, but when you look at the other options that were available, IE keeping Pujols, the Cards have a large net minus offensively.
Mrlns Fn said 12/25, 03:33 AM
Berkman is definitely a good option at first base.
Thing is, 1B is one of the easiest positions to play defensively, and if Berkman is a below average fielding first baseman he would be an absolute abomination in the outfield. For one thing, he's completely immobile. Basically the only way he gets an OF putout is when the ball is hit directly to him.
Moving Berkman to 1B allows the Cards to keep his potent bat in the lineup and minimizes the chances of him screwing up their defense.
As far as the Pujols situation goes, the only way St' Louis could've kept Albert would've been by drastically overpaying him like the Angels did. Now there's nothing wrong with his per-year salary, but by all accounts Pujols was set on a 10 year deal, and a contract like that would've completely crippled the Cards a couple years down the line when PUjols will be really old and not so good anymore.
By letting Pujols walk and by signing Beltran and retaining Berkman, the Cards will still be VERY good right now and have flexibility moving into the future, since both Berman's and Beltran's contracts will be off the books soon.
St. Louis hit a homerun with Beltran.
C-C-C said 12/25, 04:32 AM
Forget his defensive liability for a second, Berkman would have a HARD time making the top 15 Offensive 1st basemen in the game. At best, he's slightly above league average at that position. Over the last two years combined, he's well below average.
At worst? Well, he's 36 years old. Past the age where players fall off the map offensively AND defensively.
The traditional wisdom is you can hide a liability at first base, but that's just not so. The first baseman is actually involved in the game more than anyone other than the pitcher. Berkmans range is non-existent at this point. Yeah, he can catch the ball at 1st, but he's far from a 'good' 1st baseman.
IOW, putting him at 1st just to keep his bat in the lineup is detrimental to the Cards, not a positive.
Everything has to be looked at through the prism of losing a very sign-able Pujols. I'm not sure what you mean by "drastically overpay" but what the Angels gave was in line with what the Yankees (and Rangers) paid for ARod. Albert is certainly in that same range talent wise so it seems to me he got market value.
Albert getting old?
Pujols - 32
Beltran - 35
Berkman - 36
Pujols is a puppy.
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