What I’m Reading
• The parallels between Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard continue, as Howard’s recent contract extension is bound to influence the market for Pujols’ cash-in day.
• That must be one deep bruise. In addition to the past two games, the ailing Joe Mauer is expected to sit for this week’s Tigers series as well.
• Gotta watch out for those nagging abductor injuries. They’ll get ya. Just like they got Yunel Escobar.
• Chalk another one up in the win column for “White and Nerdy”. For the time being, the 39-year old pile of awesomeness known as Craig Counsell is holding down the starting SS spot in the Brewers’ lineup.
What I Think About It
• When Braves manager Bobby Cox “joked” about Pujols being worth $50 million a year if Ryan Howard received $25 million, the notion that he might be right couldn’t be immediately dismissed.
Pujols’ contributions to the St. Louis organization are unmatched. Coinciding with a slew of astronomical statistics, his tangible evidence includes a unanimous Rookie of the Year, three MVPs, five top-ten finishes in the six years he hasn’t won an MVP, and a World Series title.
That all adds up to a lot of worth.
But the question is: how much?
Any team would gladly dish out $50 million a year if a title was guaranteed for every season over the course of the contract, but this is baseball and no such guarantee could ever be made.
His contract is likely up at the end of 2011, as St. Louis will undoubtedly pick up his club option for next year.
So the journey begins to find out the exact number that Pujols will be receiving from the Cards.
Thanks to Howard, we have a jump-off point of $25 million and a cap of $50 million, courtesy of Bobby Cox.
I am proud to officially announce on behalf of Mr. Jose Alberto Pujols that he will be signing a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals worth between $25 and $50 million.
Ok Al, I’m ready for my cut of the check now.
In reality, I expect it to touch the $31 to $34 million mark, likely pushing Alex Rodriguez out of his “highest paid player in baseball” title.
• Now, this is no Joe Nathan situation, but the Twins are playing it safe with Joe Mauer’s soft heel.
Luckily, a DL stint isn’t going to happen.
When asked if there was a chance Mauer could end up on the disabled list, manager Ron Gardenhire said according to the Star Tribune, "No not at all. It's a situation where if you try to get him out there too quick, then this thing will never heal. We just don't want that to be the case. You've got to give this a couple extra days here, so that's why we brought in another catcher."
Excellent decision making. The Twins currently sit in first place in the A.L. Central with a favorable 16-9 record.
After locking up the division in 2009 despite not having Mauer for the entire month of April, they’ll be able to manage without him for a few games, assuming that this is all this is.
To me, it seems that this is an even stronger Minnesota team than last year, so once Mauer returns and keeps up his reigning MVP-like pace, they’ll cruise to another division title.
Also, a World Series title.
Yes, I did just drop my Series prediction on May 3 in the near-bottom paragraph of a Mauer injury tidbit.
He literally has 14 fans.
At least the city of Kansas City won’t be too broken up about his demotion.
The best part about this is: “If you have a passion for Alex Gordon, sign up and we'll let you know when we're ready for your help.”
The coalition for Alex Gordon to become a real pro ballplayer has now become a community outreach.
Now for a segment I’d like to call “Things Alex Gordon Can Do for His Fans”:
He could sign autographs for all of his fans and not get the slightest hand cramp.
He could purchase an entire row of seats at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, home of the Omaha Royals, label it “Gordon’s Group” and have all of his fans sit together to see him play.
He could even take all of his fans out to dinner and push two tables together so they can sit as a group.
You get the point.
In 12 games this season, Gordon is hitting .194.
There’s always hope he’ll regain whatever it was that got him drafted second overall in 2005, but my doubts about him grow rapidly.
• I don’t even know what an abductor is, but it scares the heck out of me.
It does, however, sound like a part of my body that I don’t want to screw up, especially now that it might send Yunel Escobar to the disabled list.
He’s still day-to-day right now but a DL stint has not been ruled out.
Despite some early struggles to open 2010, Escobar is quietly developing into a solid young shortstop bound to turn some heads as we head into this new decade of baseball.
The Braves just won three straight without him after taking a turn for the worse by losing nine in a row.
Also, for those that failed Anatomy and Physiology in high school like I did back in the day, here’s your lesson Monday.
• It has always been tough for me to take Craig Counsell seriously.
For starters, anyone that holds a bat like this generally doesn’t fare well in the sporting world and might even be a little tapped in the head.
But Craig proves me wrong here.
While his career hasn’t been spectacular, the point remains that Counsell has still had a career.
He’s been hanging around the National League scene since 1995, carrying adjectives like ‘skinny’, ‘lanky’, and ‘out-of-place’ with him wherever he goes.
But he has produced consistently enough to remain a staple in many “eighth spot in the order” situations over the past fifteen years and is surprising many this season up in Milwaukee.
"Our focus is still developing (Alcides) Escobar into an everyday player," manager Ken Macha said according to the Journal Sentinel. "With that said, it's an extreme luxury to have a player of this caliber go out there in Escobar's place."
**** I’d like to issue a “Get Well Soon” message to 2004 ALCS hero Dave Roberts, recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
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