At the beginning of every offseason, the United Cardinals Bloggers participate in a roundtable discussion about the past year and the future of the team. Thanks to the pleasant surprise of an extra month of Cardinals baseball, this discussion has continued into the winter. Last Friday was my turn to pose a question and in the wake of Albert Pujols’s defection to the Angels, I asked the following:
Should the Cardinals pursue Prince Fielder? Why or why not?
Daniel, C70 At The Bat :
Not at all, for various reasons.
One, Pujols was a special case. If Albert hadn’t been Albert, there would have been no question that the club should have stopped bidding a long time ago. I believe that the cost for Fielder would quickly get into uncomfortable territory for the Cards and he brings none of the additional cache of “hometown icon” that Pujols did.
Two, first base is covered both short-term and potentially long term. Bob pointed this out on Twitter and hopefully will elaborate here on this answer, but the short response is Lance Berkman is more than capable of playing first, as is Allen Craig when he returns from injury. Factor in players like Matt Adams on the rise and that’s not a slot you have to throw a lot of money at.
Three, while Fielder never rose to the level of Cardinal enemy that Ryan Braun has, I still don’t want to see him in St. Louis. Call it personal bias. 😉
Absolutely not.I just posted this on our site regarding where the Cards go from here (I post this for reference, not pimping http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/how-should-the-cardinals-address-their-needs-without-pujols-in-2012). I believe this is the perfect opportunity for the Cardinals to start stretching their minor league muscles for the first time since before the Jocketty era. I really want to see what the minors can do for this team.As for Fielder specifically, here are some reasons:1. He’s morbidly obsese, and has shown an obvious opposition to caring for his body. His father, built the same way, flamed out disastrously beyond age 32, and I think Prince will be the same.2. He’s going to be expensive in both years and salary. His agent, the infamous Scott Boras, is definitely looking for $20-$25 million for the guy for many years (seven? who knows). Here’s something nobody has been able to answer: if the Cardinals weren’t willing to go high and long with a franchise icon like Pujols, why would they do it for Fielder, who is a LESSER player than Pujols?????3. Fielder is a one tool player.4. Fielder’s attitude sucks. His shirt nonsense bugged me years ago, and his cockiness (unearned, in my opinion) is not a trait I’d like to see this team adopt.5. The Cardinals don’t need to go out and buy a “name” just to make up some of the luster they lost with Pujols. Allen Craig can make up 2/3 of Pujols’ production with a full year, and the rest of the TEAM can produce wins in various ways. Winning teams don’t need names. They need all-round talents playing with heart, skill, and enthusiasm and working together.How are those for some reasons?
I would love to see Fielder in Cardinal Red. He is young and still have a lot of upside left. I would sign him for maybe four years and would be a bargain compared to Pujols. What a slap in the face that would be if we signed Fielder. I would suggest to bring up Matt Adams so he can learn behind Prince since he seems to be our next first baseman of the future. Prince would also fill that void that Pujols use to be.
I have been debating this with myself since Thursday and I keep making good points on both sides. But in the end, I was able to convince myself. The answer is no. If they could sign up to a short term deal, two years, then I would say yes, but that’s not going to happen. Fielder is a tough player, not playing less than 157 games since 2006, but his dad was done in baseball by 34 years old. I think the Cards need to keep 1st base warm for Matt Adams and fill other spots like SS and an outfield position (maybe, depends on Criag’s return). I like the idea of having a .290/35-40/120+ batter on the team, but in the long run the cost would more than likely be to high.
Ray covered the answer already. I have nothing else to add. That said, the Brewers will really be hurting for those first 50 games next season if the PED test for Braun holds up.
Should the Cardinals pursue Prince Fielder? I suppose it depends on what you mean by “pursue.” Should they inquire? Yes. I’m not a fan of Fielder, for several reasons but all entirely unrelated to his production, of course, and I can’t imagine many other Cardinal fans would be enamored by him either. But I’ll throw in a couple of other considerations that I don’t think anyone has mentioned, just for the sake of a more complete discussion.
First, I’m not sold on Matt Adams as the ultimate answer and therefore reason to forego good current options. Undoubtedly the guy can rake, posting .400ish wOBA every year in the minors. But that’s only through double-A, and it’s a big jump from there to MLB success. Brett Wallace put up those kind of numbers to that point, too, and while the book isn’t closed on Wallace, he isn’t exactly replacing a callup’s win totals yet, not to mention Pujols’s.
Second, a side benefit to signing Fielder would be to keep him off a competitor’s club. The Cubs appear to be the lead candidates to sign him, and while they may not yet worry anyone, they have the wherewithal and leadership to change that quickly. Any home runs that Fielder hits for the Cardinals will be home runs that he doesn’t hit for the Cubs.
Mary, MLB Voice :
I’m also a fan of Prince Fielder. Although I think he’s overweight and all, the fact is that we need to sign SOME name. He would be a good one. We surely don’t want that bat on the Cubs.I’m interested in how he is in the clubhouse. We are going to miss Albert there & don’t need one of those “clubhouse cancers” no matter how strong the bat.