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Trading Albert Pujols

At Bird Land Derrick Goold attacks the idea of the St. Louis Cardinals trading Albert Pujols from a more pragmatic front than we usually get. What is normally an emotional appeal—he's Albert Pujols, as Adam Wainwright kindly reminds us earlier in the article:

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"I don't ever like talking about life without Albert Pujols," Wainwright said. "We could potentially be playing with the best player who ever played the game. We only talk about life with Albert Pujols, never life without Albert Pujols."

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—is in Goold's hands a completely rational discussion of Albert Pujols's value to the Cardinals and his possible value to other teams, including his hypothetical "Millionaire City Fat Cats", which will now become a team in my Baseball Mogul league. 

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His strongest argument comes down to something I've been wondering about for a while now—one year of Albert Pujols isn't worth as much as it used to be, and that's not because of Albert Pujols. Teams have gotten smarter about trading top prospects; it hurt to lose Brett Wallace, but he turned out to be a less-than-perfect prospect, not a real third baseman, not an impressive power-hitter.

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It would be hard for the Cardinals to get even the haul they were willing to trade away for Mark Mulder five years ago, because, to be reductive about it, other teams saw how badly they got fleeced on it. Nobody wants to trade away the next Dan Haren; as a result, I think we might be entering a period in which young players are slightly overvalued relative to veterans, which would be a first in the history of the universe.