We are all familiar with the story by now: with the final pick of the twelfth round in the 1999 MLB amateur draft, the Atlanta Braves took a flier on a lightly scouted, bad bodied JuCo player from the Kansas City area, and landed one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history: Jose Alberto Pujols.
Albert Pujols spent one year in the minors at Macon before breaking big league camp with the Braves in 2001, winning the National League Rookie of the Year award. In his eleven years in a Braves uniform, he hit.328/.420/.617 w/ 445 HRs, winning three Most Valuable Player awards, and leading the Braves to two World Championships.
Now, he's a free agent, and the Saint Louis Cardinals have reportedly offered him a nine year contract worth somewhere north of two hundred million dollars.
With all due respect to one of the greatest hitters of all time, is Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak insane?
The Cardinals already have a perfectly good first baseman in Lance Berkman (Berkman put up a 5.2 bWAR season in 2011 compared to Pujols' 5.4 bWAR) who is a fantastic placeholder while young slugger Matt Adams gets plenty of dry rub seasoning in AAA Memphis during the 2012 campaign. And it's not like you can just throw Berkman back into the outfield (a position he hasn't played since 2007) since the team is already set with Matt Holliday and Allen Craig at the corners.
I suppose you could move Pujols to third (if his old, rickety arm can hold up) and put never-been-a-Worlds-Series-hero David Freese on the bench, but unless Pujols is able to move to second base, short stop, or center field he just does not have a spot on the 2012 Saint Louis Cardinals.
This is ignoring the fact that, roster matrix be damned, giving a nine year contract to a "32 year old" player (wink, wink) is insanity in it's own right. It's a potentially crippling contract for the franchise and John Mozeliak needs to pull the offer before long time Atlanta Brave and never a Saint Louis Cardinal Albert Pujols and his agent Dan Lozano jump on it.
Besides, the Cardinals will need all the cash possible to re-sign five time Cy Young Award winner Rick Ankiel next off season.