In our weekly chat with Post-Dispatch readers we look ahead at some options for Albert Pujols and back at the path that led to his release from the Angels. Here are some of the highlights
Q: Doesn't the Angels parting with Albert Pujols, who is approaching milestones of historic merit, really shine a hotter light on the Cards to handle the Matt Carpenter situation sooner than later? The excuse of "no one else is doing anything better" is more of an indictment of the front office than a reason to continue forward with Matt.
A: True, but the team needs alternatives to make changes. Minor league baseball just got underway, so it will be a few weeks before the Cardinals know what they really have in reserve. Also, more players will become available as the sorting continues during this season.
Q: I get that Paul DeJong is young and plays shortstop, but it blows my mind that because Pujols is at the end of his career people feel ok to talk about his terrible final year and yet in this chat and others, people suggest a .187 hitting paul Dejong should hit 4th or 5th in the cardinals lineup.
A: Right now the Cardinals don't have many proven options for the middle of their lineup. So DeJong is a candidate by default. Obviously the Angels felt they had better options than Albert, which is why they are eating all of that money to let him go.
Q: The Cards may not sign Pujols but if nothing else it shows that dragging along Carpenter’s bat makes no sense either.
A: Mozeliak put Carpenter on the clock. Since then Carpenter hit a couple of big homers to buy more time. At some point, presumably soon, the Cardinals will need more consistent production from Carpenter or do something else.
Q: No one is talking about Pujols Personal Services contract with the Angels which keeps him tied to the team after retirement. Is that still the case? or did that essentially get cancelled once they released him?
A: I don't believe anything changes. The Angels still owe him the rest of his $30 million for this season, minus the pro-rated veterans minimum if he lands somwhere after clearing waivers. I don't believe the personal services piece was tied to him finishing his career in Anaheim. The Angels tried to take the high road with his release, saying all the right things so that the door remains open.
Q: Do you think Matheny and the Royals might take a flyer on Albert? He sort of got his start in KC and Cards fans could caravan over to see him. The Cards play them I believe in St Louis in August so we could send him off.
A: Matheny might be more interested than most managers, but that team is in the midst of a rebuild and it's trying to blend in more young players. If Mike believes Albert could be a role model for the prospects, then that could be the argument.
Q: Seems to me that the Angels mishandled Pujols. They still have a hole in right field where Walsh could play until their youngsters, Adell or Marsh, could play. It looked like their young GM was trying to make a name at the expense of a legend. And Maddon, who should know better, helped him
A: The new management team had no allegiance to him. Albert was an inherited issue to those guys. He was not going to be around in 2022 and he was getting used in lower part of the order this year, for the most part. With Albert gone, the Angels can look to add a more productive player willing to be part of the supporting cast.
It's cold business, pro sports.
Q: There was a commentary in the sports section of the LA Times: Pujols Was Not the Star the Angels Wanted Him to Be. Pretty interesting read. Albert just wasn't a big deal out there.
A: No, he wasn't. That became Mike Trout's team for good reason. The Angels paid Albert for what he did for the Cardinals. That deal never made sense for that team or for Albert.
Q: How about Mo trading one Albert for another Albert as player and hitting coach?
A: Pujols has not been able to make enough adjustments to stay in the Angels lineup, so I'm not sure he is coaching material.
Q: How much longer can Carp hang on if he's batting below the Mendoza line? I wish he could retire with grace but that doesn't seem likely at this point.
A: No, he's headed for the Pujols treatment if he doesn't turn it around soon. John Mozeliak has made that clear.
Q: 5 HRs 12 RBI, .198 average. Pujols would fit right in with many of the Cardinal regulars.
A: But he wouldn't play ahead of Paul Goldschmidt at first base.
Q: Do you think Pujols’ pride, which is showing now, was his downfall in accepting the Angels offer? The Cards offer was not that far off.
A: There was a communication breakdown there. Both sides needed to handle that better. This was the Edgar Renteria situation all over again, but on a much bigger scale. Ultimately Pujols felt slighted by the team.
Q: I don’t think Carp will get the Pujols treatment unless we need to make room for a new bat. As you know, DeWitt hates to pay someone to go away.
A: Jhonny Peralta would disagree. So would Greg Holland.
Q: Jeff didn't the Cardinals want Pujols to walk? They got a draft pick and saved a bunch of money and they figured his best years were behind him and he's was older than what he said. Didn't they wait to make him an offer and make him feel unwelcome? Didn't all that come out 2 years ago?
A: Mozeliak stormed off after Albert took the Angels deal. The Cardinals made a good offer to keep him. Did it work out better for them in the long term? Yes. But given this team's history of retaining elite players on DeWitt's watch, I believe the effort to keep him was sincere.
Jeff Gordon • 314-340-8175
@gordoszone on Twitter