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  1. “Toronto isn’t perceived as a big market team, however, and it’s unclear whether they could handle such a large increase in their payroll.”

    What does perception have to do with it? The fact is that Toronto is a large market, the owners have stated there is money to spend, and they are some of the wealthiest owners in baseball. Are you suggesting that Pujols would only sign with a team that he “perceived” to be big market?

    Comment by André — February 24, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  2. Not suggesting he would, or will, or even that he should sign with Toronto, by the way.

    Comment by André — February 24, 2011 @ 11:11 am

  3. At the very least, it is smart of the Cubs to position themselves as having interest in Pujols to drive the price (and the pressure) up on the Cardinals to sign him next season. I read somewhere else that Cardinals execs may have done this on purpose (in part) to make the new Cubs owners look cheap when they don’t sign him next season. I think the opposite is true – its a win-win for the Cubs. They either get the best player in baseball and weaken a division opponent or they drive up the price on their rivals causing them to overpay and possibly regret it 5-6 years down the line.

    Comment by Nick — February 24, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  4. Why not the Nats? Whether or not Pujols would agree to go is one question, but by next spring they might have Strasberg and J. Zim on all cylinders at the top of the rotation, and Harper ready to join R. Zim and Werth in the lineup. Adding Pujols would make this a hugely exciting combination if youth and veteran, and make the Nats a legitimate contender. I don’t think a $9 million commitment to LaRoche is going to stop the Nats. And as with Werth, I could see them overpaying by a lot to get their man.

    And then nabbing Sabathia as well.

    Okay, probably not. But I bet they go VERY hard after both.

    Comment by Alfedoz — February 24, 2011 @ 11:21 am

  5. John Grabow is also a free agent after 2011. He makes $4.8 million this year. Yes, you read that right, $4.8 million for John Grabow.

    Comment by Ja4ed — February 24, 2011 @ 11:26 am

  6. I dont think that is what he is saying at all. The fact is people simply dont see Toronto as a large market, because it is off their radar. Its a hockey town, and they only draw fans when they are serious contenders (see 1992/93). That being said its the 4th largest market in N.A. and their owners are the largest public telecom in Canada. Pujols will sign where the money is, and I dont think he looks at ‘size of market’.

    That being said, no one ever discusses the Cubs vs Cardinal 100 year rivalry when discussing a Pujols to the Cubs deal. I am not convinced that if there are two relatively equal deals on the table and the Cubs are one of them, that Pujols does not sign with Chicago to avoid the ‘piling on’ effect to the Cardinal fan. If he is such a stand-up guy, I have to think this will play on his mind.

    Comment by Darren — February 24, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  7. Never count out the Tigers. With Cabrera’s problems and Dombrowski’s urge for big-time moves is unthinkable something couldn’t be worked out there?

    Comment by Mike — February 24, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  8. The Blue Jays very well could have the most wealthy owners in baseball. The GTO is a very large local market, not to mention their fan base spans an entire country.

    There will be 3 players IMO. The Cards, Nats and Jays. I don’t see the Cubs putting a competitive team together this year which could be a deterrent to him signing. Their future is also nowhere near as bright as the Nats or Jays.

    A 3,4,5 of




    are both very intriguing.

    Comment by Lewis — February 24, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  9. And if the Blue Jays can move Wells, there’s always the possibility that the Cubs can move Soriano.

    Comment by Kenny — February 24, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  10. If Pujols goes to TO the Orioles will move to the WNBA.

    Comment by nilsilly — February 24, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  11. what about the rangers they gave their 1st baseman away in the cliff lee deal, and have a new tv contract so big money there.

    Comment by Roc — February 24, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  12. Toronto is in fact, larger than Chicago.

    However, the Cubs are much more widely perceived to be a “major” team – in the US media at least. Perhaps that what Pujols would prefer as a destination, and what the author is implying when he refers to Toronto as not being “perceived” as big market.

    Comment by OTerry — February 24, 2011 @ 11:37 am

  13. Not that I’m an advocate of the Jays signing Pujols, but (1) Toronto is the 5th largest sports-media market in North America, (2) Rogers is one of the wealthiest ownership groups in MLB, and (3) Beeston has said that the Jays are prepared to spend for the right player at the right time. The Jays are a large market team with a fan-base that has been disappointed with a decade and a half of inept management and mediocre on-field results.

    As for pursuing Pujols, by the time he is a free agent, he’ll be heading into his age 32 season. Let’s use one of rumoured values: 10-years at $30MM per year. At today’s WAR value, that’s 60 WAR. (I’ll assume WAR inflation equals the discount rate.) I don’t know how many players not tainted with suspicions of PEDs have posted 60+ WAR after age 31. Hank Aaron posted nearly 50.

    Albert Pujols is the premier position players in baseball and I would love to see him in a Jays uniform. If anyone is worth a contract of that size, I believe that he is one that could live up to it and potentially make it wroth that commitment. But the risk manager in me is screaming inside my head about the downside is significant and the upside is limited.

    Besides, do you think Escobar gives up his number 5? Deal killer! :-)

    Comment by bluejaysstatsgeek — February 24, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  14. Toronto is not larger than Chicago.

    Comment by U-G — February 24, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  15. Even if that’s the case, it seems bizarre to bring perception into a discussion of finances. Conceivably Pujols will trust that the money on the table in front of him is “real”.

    Comment by André — February 24, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  16. They don’t have the money.

    Comment by philosofool — February 24, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  17. Willie Mays and Babe Ruth are the only non-Bonds players to have put up over 60WAR at 31+. Stan Musial, Tris Speaker, Ted Williams, Edgar Martinez, Mike Schmidt all did 48 or more. (These are baseball reference numbers.)

    For what it is worth, I think he’ll do more like 250-280 than 300 million. Also, in Toronto, there’s a very good chance he would crack 700 homers and start to chase Bonds. If he did, the ticket sales would be gold and the contract would pay for itself.

    Comment by philosofool — February 24, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  18. I think some of the issue is not the market size, but the resulting fan-base size. Some towns are football towns, some are basketball towns, some are hockey towns, and some are baseball towns. I would definitely put Toronto in the hockey-town category. It seems like the fan bases go: Hockey >> Baseball > Basketball in Toronto.

    I think being the 2nd favorite sport tends to hurt the fan base. In Chicago, baseball is king. They have two teams in the town and they can sell out both stadiums, despite being the smaller city. In Toronto, that just plain doesn’t happen.

    The issue here is one of those: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Toronto has the market size, but your money comes from market size * % fans * brand loyalty. Until the Blue Jays can increase their fanbase, they’re not going to be a big market team- they’ll be a mid-market team in a huge market.

    Comment by B N — February 24, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

  19. Football is king in Chicago. Trust me. I’m a much bigger Cubs fan than Bears fan, but I wouldn’t dream of claiming that either baseball team (or even both teams combined) boast the size or passion of the Bears fanbase. The Bears are king in Chicago, and that’s a fact, jack.

    Comment by Eddie — February 24, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  20. Pretty sure Jeff Samardzija has a club option for 2012. Unless he shows radical improvement, the Cubs will certainly decline that option. If they choose to keep him, he’ll still be under club control for another two seasons.

    Comment by Eddie — February 24, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  21. I’m saying it will, or should happen, but can we really rule out either Bos or NY just because they already have a slugging, glove flashing 1B? I don’t think so. Sure none of the 3 would be as valuable (from a WAR) perspective as a DH but I can’t imagine that’ll stop Cash or Theo from at least inquiring.

    Comment by Beau — February 24, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

  22. I hear the Angels are in the aging, over-priced outfielders market.

    Comment by Josh — February 24, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

  23. Cubs future is certainly brighter than the Cards future
    all Pujols has to do is look around the infield this and he’ll realize STL cant afford to put a team around him. And after he hits 330 with 40 HRs, yet struggles to reach 100 rbis because nobody in front of him can get on or in scoring position, he will likely become frustrated

    Add in the fact that the future of their ace is in doubt, their other ace is a senior citizen with a bad injury history, and they have a bad farm system…….and the future is bleak

    Comment by mister_rob — February 24, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  24. Toronto is not currently perceived as a big-market team because it has yet to spend like a big-market team (at 80M they are in the middle). The key variable in terms of any teams ability to spend is the local TV contract – if Pujols helps the Jays secure a bigger chunk of TV revenues in the future, then he may well be worth 30M/year in Toronto.

    Wealthy owners are not going to spend money just because they can, but wealthy owners are more able to take on the risk of Pujols’ large contract than a not-so-wealthy owner.

    Comment by dangnewt — February 24, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  25. honestly, i think the Raptors are more popular than the Jays… even though they’re terrible.

    Comment by Eric — February 24, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  26. Tax implications will hurt our chances of signing Pujols. Canada’s income tax is much higher than the US, especially in the bracket Pujols would be in. Call me crazy but I’d much rather the Jays target a slightly cheaper, and 4 years younger Prince Fielder at that kind of money. Jays are a young team and he’d be a better fit in the youth movement.

    Comment by Geoff — February 24, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  27. But a favourable xchange right may offset that.

    I would love to see a Fielder & Darvish catch , more than a Pujols

    Comment by Darren — February 24, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  28. I’ll bet you a dollar that Fielder regresses faster than Pujols

    Comment by Eric — February 24, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  29. Absolutely. Despite the age difference, I’ll bet Pujols is more productive in 5 years than Fielder.

    Comment by bluejaysstatsgeek — February 24, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

  30. The Jays aren’t a big-market team at first glance, but Toronto has a unique position in that it is advertised as Canada’s team, and you’d be surprised to hear about how large the fanbase is from the mid to the west (especially Vancouver)

    While the Jays certainly do not have the audience-drawing power as other big market teams (for the time being), there is a large number of households that watch the Jays, so there is certainly a lot of revenue coming from broadcasting.

    Comment by Josh — February 24, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  31. my thought exactly. if you count out the cubs for their ability to compete, then you have to really put a line or two through the cards. they are toast without pujols, and probably with him.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — February 24, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

  32. Why would anyone ever choose to play for the Cubs???

    Comment by PL — February 24, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  33. Ok, I misspoke about Toronto definitively being larger than Chicago.

    Chicago’s population is on the decline, shrinking at a rate of 6.9% since 2000, and is now at the same level as it was in 1920 at 2.69 million (from 2010 census).

    Toronto is at about 2.68 million (2009 numbers), but is likely already larger than Chicago due to its positive growth. The 2011 census will likely provide definitive proof.

    So all in all, 2.68 and 2.69 million is about same.

    For market size considerations, while the Chicago Metropolitan Area (9.7 mil) is larger than the Greater Toronto area (6.1 mil), the Jays are the only Canadian team, and have a national market size of 33 million (with national TV coverage).

    If the Jays can capture the imagination of Toronto and the nation (Canada, eh) with a winning club, then they could blow past the records of the early 90s team, when they were arguably the most successful, best attended and perhaps the wealthiest.

    I personally find it highly doubtful that the Jays would go aggressively for Pujols, or if Pujols would seriously consider playing for the Jays (or an AL team for that matter).

    Comment by OTerry — February 24, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  34. wow, that ryan howard deal is looking even worse now–it wouldn’t have taken much additional marginal cash to ink a far superior player. can you imagine that pitching staff with pujols hitting cleanup? hank steinbrenner just wet his pants at the notion.

    Comment by dudley — February 24, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  35. also super right ownership that has said they are willing to spend when the right player comes along. i can’t imagine a player more deserving to spend on than pujols. they also got rid of their big contract so they should be clear for the future as well.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — February 24, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

  36. i mean super rich***

    Comment by phoenix2042 — February 24, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

  37. Man, that Vernon Wells trade was awful. I didn’t think of the Pujols ramifications before this.

    Comment by Ryan — February 24, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

  38. Exchange rate notwithstanding, the taxes are so much higher than in the US, plus players are paid in US$ anyway so the exchange rate would be a wash, wouldn’t it?

    Comment by Geoff — February 24, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

  39. I agree he’ll regress faster, but 4 years faster? He’s 4 years younger, will Pujols be more productive than Fielder in 5 years when he’s 36 and Fielder hits 31? I’d wager at that point Fielder would be a better option, but I could be wrong.

    Comment by Geoff — February 24, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  40. Imagine of realignment (perhaps no divisions) was announced before the season ended and Toronto realized they would become legitimate playoff contenders and see their revenue rise accordingly… PUJOLS!

    Comment by Ryan — February 24, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  41. You are all assuming Pujols is the age his baseball card says he is.

    Comment by Darren — February 24, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  42. From a Toronto perspective, I thought it was anything but awful :P

    Comment by Geoff — February 24, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  43. What I am saying is if your exchanging C$ for more US$ than you have the ability to slightly ‘overpay’ to get the deal done.

    Comment by Darren — February 24, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

  44. And how would you describe the future for the Cubs, taking into account their 100+ year legacy of losing? Are those prospects from the 1910′s finally ready to hit the bigs?

    Comment by Ryan — February 24, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  45. I’m a little biased because I’m a Cardinals fan, but I don’t see why any player that wants to win would sign with the Cubs. It seems like things are in a perpetual state of chaos for them; like even if the sun shines briefly the next storm is already on the horizon. The Cubs will definitely drive up the price, but I don’t see Pujols seriously considering them.

    Comment by Ryan — February 24, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  46. they had the money for lee, they just didnt get him

    Comment by fredsbank — February 24, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  47. why are you so eager to hate on albert? the guy has a squeaky-clean past

    Comment by fredsbank — February 24, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

  48. exactly, this is the thing that people dont seem to understand. that is not a winning organization, and especially since albert would be coming from the cards… the whole is just highly improbable, regardless of they cubs’ financial capacity to pull it off

    Comment by fredsbank — February 24, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  49. as if its not enough that cubs aren’t going anywhere (their biggest pickups this offseason were pena and garza- whooo), pujols PLAYS FOR THE CARDINALS. THE CARDINALS AND CUBS DO NOT PLAY NICE. the man is beloved in st louis, and we all saw what happened when lebron blew off cleveland to seek personal glory in miami, and those teams aren’t rivals at all. there is far more to this than money. especially after dumping wells, the jays have to be considered the number 2 team in the race, and in no serious world should anyone ever consider albert going to the cubs.

    its like when mariano rivera’s contract expired, and the red sox made him an offer before he finished negotiating with the yankees, like, seriously? why even try?

    Comment by fredsbank — February 24, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  50. I lol at the ridiculous arguments that the Cubs “don’t compete” because they haven’t won since 1908.
    Cuz, you know, what happened in 1926 really matters to the happenings of today. Or man, they’re STILL feeling the effects of that 1988 season.
    And let’s not forget the arbitrary end points of the last 4 seasons when they finished:
    1,1,2,5 to the Cards

    Yeah, what happened in 1972 matters more than MONEY.

    Comment by Norm — February 24, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  51. Oh, I’m sure there was a spike in champagne sales in Toronto the day that deal was made.

    Comment by Ryan — February 24, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  52. ‘they only draw fans when they are serious contenders’ ss a specious statement at best. The only seasons where they’ve had trouble drawing fans are the last two, they were an incredibly well supported team from their founding until the earl part of this decade, and they still outdrew a bunch of more ‘traditional’ baseball markets.

    Comment by Big Jgke — February 24, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

  53. They’d still finish last.

    Comment by Big Jgke — February 24, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  54. Exactly
    If we want to talk about history, then why would anyone consider the nats/expos franchise as a possibility? What do they have, 2 postseason appearances in 43 years? They havent mattered as a franchise since the mid 90′s
    THe Cubs had a horrible year last year. That is without question. Everything that could go wrong did (3 and 4 hitters non existant the first half, Z melting down, Lilly hurt, etc). but this is still a team that had posted 3 winning seasons in a row, has some historically solid players, has a very good bullpen, has some solid starters, some good young players, and will have payroll flexibility moving forward. To say they cant compete in a division that doesnt have any dominating teams is ridiculous
    The Cubs will reach the postseason again before Toronto or Washington does

    Comment by mister_rob — February 24, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

  55. I’d love to see Pujols pull a Theriot and just bash the hell out of his old team while playing for the rival. Maybe he can bash Theriot while he’s at it too.

    Comment by Dan Greer — February 24, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

  56. In Toronto’s case, they’d be a playoff contender in any other division in baseball.

    Comment by Geoff — February 24, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  57. I dont disagree. But they are where they are. And the Cubs have the fortune of being in the NLC
    The gap between Chicago and the Reds is tiny compared to the gap between Tor and Bos/NY, or between Washington and PHI/ATL

    Comment by mister_rob — February 24, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  58. but the cubs are cursed. the nats aren’t.

    it’s science. you cannot dispute it.

    Comment by OTerry — February 24, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

  59. While Toronto and Chicago are of fairly comparable sizes, I think it is key to note: that the 9.7M metro area is shared among two teams meaning 4.85M per team versus Toronto’s 6.1M only game in town.

    Comment by David Wishinsky — February 24, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  60. I dont know, I’d say the expos/nats franchise is pretty cursed

    Their best team ever got cancelled out by the strike (1994)
    And one could argue that their 2nd best team ever was also disrupted by a strike (1981)

    They usually sold off all their good players. But on the rare occasion they went for it, they’d make a CLee/Sizemore/Phillips for Colon type trade

    Comment by mister_rob — February 24, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

  61. Toronto’s problem is that awful stadium. It went out of vogue three years after it opened thanks to Camden Yards. From the upper deck you literally need a respirator.

    Comment by David Wishinsky — February 24, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

  62. Wouldn’t a bigger issue be the higher income taxes in Toronto? I know a bunch of NBA players have said that is a big disadvantages for the Raptors.

    Comment by Josh — February 24, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  63. In 1992 and 1993 Toronto went after and got big name stars because they were able to flex their muscles financially. I think if they got Pujols they are a very legitimate threat to contend for a long time, I think Toronto’s fans are quite fair-weather (I used to live there so I am not just saying this from watching ESPN) and also I think their 89-93 attendance records were in part novelty of the stadium and in part the quality of the team. The novelty has worn off, but a scary good team (which I think they have the potential to do) especially with Pujols could really energize interest in the fan base. He is the real deal.

    Comment by David Wishinsky — February 24, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  64. there are many ways around that… all you need is a good personal financier. i doubt any player in TO makes a cent less than they would in the US.

    i believe the tax situation depends on where you actually live not on where you work

    Comment by Kevin — February 24, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  65. it is a hockey town… but not so much in the middle of august

    actually the way things have been for the leafs the last couple years, hockey season ends quite early

    with the jays the only mildly interesting game in town they could take the TO market by storm if they made a push for pujols or fielder. not saying it will happen, but the possibility exists

    Comment by Kevin — February 24, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  66. “The Cubs will reach the postseason again before Toronto or Washington does”

    I’m not a gambler, but I’d invest some money on that.

    Comment by bluejaysstatsgeek — February 24, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  67. He’s actually got club options for both 2012 and 2013(that are all but a lock to be picked up.)

    More to the point, he will–in all likelihood–be under the Cubs’ control for 2 more seasons *after* 2013. He had 0.152 years of service after the 2009 season–meaning 0 years, 152 days. I haven’t calculated his 2010 service time(days on the Cubs’ 25-man roster), but if it was 20 days, then he will be at 1 year–and each additional day over 20 would be 1 year, x days. This is because 1 year = 172 days for MLB service time considerations. Any way you slice it, he’ll only have 1 year and change of service time at most as of the end of 2010.

    So, if Samardzija gets full seasons in 2011-2013, he’ll have 4(possibly 4+) seasons of service time at the end of his contract in 2013, and the Cubs(or any team the Cubs trade him to) would have him as an arb-eligible player for 2 more seasons.

    (Which would be funny, as you’d have a player acquiring arb eligibility for the first time after 4 years of service time instead of 3.) ;)

    Comment by Jim — February 24, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  68. I agree here Josh, the taxes thing definitely comes into play. It plays a major role in players decisions because you are talking millions of dollars difference in taxes. Chris Bosh for example went for Toronto to Florida(no state tax), he took a big pay cut and is making almost identical to what he was last year because of the difference in tax.

    Kevin, it doesn’t matter how good your financier is in a situation like this. Unless your accountant is going to do illegal things you just can’t hide millions of dollars(~30/year in this instance).

    When you live compared to work matters between states in the U.S. to an extent, but if you are making money in a different country you are going to have to pay taxes there.

    Comment by Dustin — February 24, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  69. I don’t see why everyone immediately assumes the Yankees will not bid for Pujols. If they want him, and we know they can afford him, they will throw Texiera under the bus in a second.

    Comment by Jerry — February 24, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

  70. chicago’s metropolitan population is around 9.7m vs 5.5m for toronto. Chicago is significantly larger than toronto.

    Comment by mikey — February 24, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  71. Kenny Williams was trying to keep everyone off his scent with his comments. Albert will be playing at the corner of 35th and Shields next year…

    Comment by Sox27 — February 24, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  72. konerko, dunn, and Pujols all on the same roster?

    I have a feeling once konerko comes back to earth, his contract will be virtually untradable. There is a limited market for Dunn. And none of three should play anywhere but 1st or DH. So in summary, the Sox have a 0.0001% chance of signing Pujols

    Comment by mister_rob — February 24, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

  73. As soon as it was announced that Pena signed a one year deal, the rumors of Pujols in a Cubs uniform started.

    Jim Edmonds as a Cub was weird enough. Pujols as a Cub may cost Jon M his job.

    I don’t want to see AP in blue, but as an organization could there be any bigger way of getting a competitive advantage while sticking it to your bitter rival?

    Central Illinois is an even split between the fan bases. Pujols as a Cub could sway many of the casual fans toward ‘blue disease’.

    I think the injury to Wain put the Cards in a “sign Pujols or relive the early 90s” situation … At least from a fan’s perspective.

    Pujols as a Cub really is an intolerable situation. It’s not a Bonds in LA situation because Pujols is just beloved in StL. It would very much be a LeBron situation, except the venom would be directed toward the Cards front office.

    God forbid it happen and he decides to enter the HoF with the team he ended his career with. Puke.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 24, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

  74. Pujols would never sign with the Cubs. He’s been with one of the best organizations in baseball all his career, and he knows full well the Cubs are a half-assed outfit from top to bottom.

    Pujols doesn’t want to play half his games in a dilapidated urinal in front of mostly half-drunk nitwits who know nothing about baseball. Yeah, I can say that – I’m from Chicago.

    Sadly for Pujols, there are only a handful of teams who have both a vacancy at 1B and an outside shot at raising the money he wants. My guess is he ends up in San Fran.

    Comment by John Galt — February 24, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

  75. I don’t know how the article didn’t even mention the Mets. They have more money coming off the books than the Cubs and can support a higher payroll, and have a guy making $400k playing 1B.

    Comment by Greg — February 24, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

  76. Here are Toronto’s attendance rankings for the last 10 years:

    2010 26th Toronto 81 1,625,555 20,068
    2009 22nd Toronto 81 1,876,129 23,162
    2008 18th Toronto 81 2,399,786 29,626
    2007 18th Toronto 81 2,360,648 29,143
    2006 18th Toronto 81 2,302,212 28,422
    2005 23rd Toronto 81 2,014,987 24,876
    2004 24th Toronto 81 1,900,041 23,457
    2003 23rd Toronto 81 1,799,458 22,215
    2002 25th Toronto 81 1,636,904 20,208
    2001 23rd Toronto 81 1,915,438 23,647

    Looks awfully like a “mid-market” team to me.

    Comment by Andre — February 24, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

  77. For a guy like Pujols – you make a vacancy, you don’t wait for one.

    Unless you’ve got a guy like Votto or Prince Fielder playing at 1B, I’d replace any other 1st baseman in the league for Albert.

    Having the $$$ to actually do it – now that’s a different story.

    Comment by OTerry — February 24, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

  78. How can they support a higher payroll? They’re on the brink of bankruptcy.

    Comment by Lewis — February 24, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

  79. Ted Williams probably lost 10 WAR due to getting called to active duty for the war in Korea.

    According to the articles that were published when A-Rod was signing his mos recent contracts, chasing the HR record isn’t going to be much of a boon to ticket sales.

    Comment by The Real Neal — February 24, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

  80. As a Jays fan living in Toronto, it’s my impression that more people in Vancouver are Mariners fans, while more people in Atlantic Canada are Red Sox fans.

    Comment by AJS — February 25, 2011 @ 1:31 am

  81. It is with the greatest difficulty that I try to imagine Sabean negotiating for AP… How would it begin? Perhaps the same way it would end: with BS waiting for the phone to ring to get the process started; or perhaps even more likely, with ole Sabes sitting drunk at his desk letting the ringing phone go unanswered.

    Comment by merizobeach — February 25, 2011 @ 2:06 am

  82. I would be surprised if Pujols doesn’t receive an offer from NYY.

    Comment by merizobeach — February 25, 2011 @ 2:09 am

  83. Outside of resigning with the Cards, I’d imagine NYY is among the front-runners to sign him simply because they have the most resources.

    Comment by merizobeach — February 25, 2011 @ 2:13 am

  84. Sabean, muttering to himself, staring a bottle on his desk: “well, if he wants win with *us* [hic!], then he can accept six years at twenty-five per..”–at the very moment Pujols signs with NYY for 300M.

    Comment by merizobeach — February 25, 2011 @ 2:29 am

  85. chicago’s metropolitan population is around 9.7m vs 5.5m for toronto. Chicago is significantly larger than toronto.

    And at 30+ Million, Canada is significantly larger than Chicago. And all of Canada is the Blue Jays’ market. When folks in Calgary watch baseball on TV, they’re watching the Blue Jays. When folks in Edmonton watch baseball on TV, they’re watching the Blue Jays. Ditto Winnipeg and Moncton and White Horse and Ottawa and Halifax and Tuktoyaktuk. Except for the Fox game every Saturday, and the couple of dozen Mariners games the Rogers Pacific subscribers in BC see, it’s pretty much all Blue Jays… from coast to coast to coast, as they say.

    Granted, most of those people would rather watch junior hockey than MLB. Or women’s hockey. Or street hockey, probably. But if you’re just going to use population numbers, it’s the national population for Canada you have to use.

    Comment by joser — February 25, 2011 @ 4:27 am

  86. The folks in Vancouver might be Mariners fans, but they watch more Jays games on TV — because the Jays are on Rogers Pacific just about every day, whereas the Mariners only turn up about once a week or so. If they’re baseball fans, and they just turn on the TV to watch a game, it’s probably the Blue Jays they’re seeing regardless of what team they’d prefer to cheer for. And advertisers are paying for eyeballs, not loyalty.

    Comment by joser — February 25, 2011 @ 4:34 am

  87. You know, if I was a Chicago media outlet trying to sell dead fish wrap or get page views or Nielson share or whatever, I can’t think of a better way to spike interest in my sports coverage than to suggest the biggest player on the Cardinals, and arguably the best player in baseball, might be coming to the Cubs. Damn the facts, full speed ahead!

    Comment by joser — February 25, 2011 @ 4:37 am

  88. Had is the operative word… they gave it to Beltre. They no longer have the money.

    Comment by JamesDaBear — February 25, 2011 @ 4:39 am

  89. Taxes aren’t that great of a deterrent…. more money means you can hire great accountants which can take care of that for you. Hard to know whether Pujols is smarter than the other idiot athletes who keep that from playing for one franchise or another.

    Fielder might be 4 years younger in age… but not in body. Fielder is good, but there’s no argument which says he’s worth the kind of money we’re talking about for Pujols, regardless of age factors.

    Comment by JamesDaBear — February 25, 2011 @ 4:50 am

  90. Money talks, bro. Won’t mean much if Pujols signs with i.e. the Yankees or Red Sox and wins a title or two. Getting the Cubs to the World Series puts you in another fame bracket entirely.

    Comment by JamesDaBear — February 25, 2011 @ 5:16 am

  91. whoops, forgot about that

    Comment by fredsbank — February 25, 2011 @ 10:11 am

  92. Don’t think a lot of hockey is watched from July-October, anyway.

    Comment by André — February 25, 2011 @ 10:41 am

  93. I don’t know what the value of fans in Moose Jaw is to Toronto? The television revenue I have to imagine is fixed at whatever the all of the Canada rate is. A fan in Moose Jaw might buy additional memorabilia so I give you that, but they don’t boost attendance. No one in Prince Rupert is excited for that short 4,000 mile trip to see the Jays take on the Orioles for an afternoon game. So there is SOME value, I wonder how much. And I don’t know other than memorabilia what else really is benefited with a bazillion square mile fanbase

    Comment by David Wishinsky — February 25, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  94. Don’t think a lot of hockey is watched from July-October, anyway.

    But if it was, most folks in Canada would prefer to watch it to the Blue Jays. Heck, they’ll tune in during August for guys standing around in empty rinks talking about the off-season, or selections for the upcoming junior teams.

    And I don’t know other than memorabilia what else really is benefited with a bazillion square mile fanbase.

    Ask the advertisers, who get three plus hours of slots to advertise to a national audience. Tim Horton’s, for example, seems to think there’s value in that bazillion square mile fanbase. If Jays games were only broadcast in the Toronto Metro area, do you really think they’d earn exactly the same advertising dollars?

    Comment by joser — February 25, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  95. Damn, sarcasm doesn’t come across well on here…

    Comment by Sox27 — February 25, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  96. Not all of us in Chicago are blinded by the idiocy

    Comment by Sox27 — February 25, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  97. I don’t know if it matters, as the author states here, whether the Cubs have a bad year or the Nats have a bad year, with respect to whether it impacts their decision to go after Pujols.

    I mean, any contract he takes that isn’t from the Cards is going to be at least 8 years, and he’s going to be one of the best players in the league for at least 6 of them, so as a club (particularly one with up-and-coming stars like the Nats or a high payroll like the Cubs) that may not put it together in 2012 there should still be huge motivation to go after the best player in the game.

    Comment by The Nicker — February 25, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  98. Getting the Cubs to the World Series puts you in another fame bracket entirely.

    Yeah, let’s compile a list of stars and managers that have had that idea, only to have the enjoyment of the game beaten from their souls.

    Wrigley Field … where dreams go to die.

    Seriously, every free agent they sign or manager they hire, talks about how special it would be to be THE ONE to bring a winner to the North Side.

    At this point, that expression might actually be the trigger to the curse. *grin*

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 26, 2011 @ 5:22 am

  99. So the Cards won’t pay AP before the season and now they’re going to pay him after it? With money when they let their stud pitcher go because of injury? And after a poor season by the Cards(probably) no less? Yeah right.

    Pujols is already miffed because the deal wasn’t done before spring training and they didn’t offer him a contract that he felt he earned and deserved. The Cards already got excellent value for his first long-term deal, so if they let him walk so what?

    The fact is in sports their is no loyalty to one franchise. If the Cards want to offer him below what he thinks he’s worth then he leaves. Maybe not the Cubs but somewhere else.

    Cards fans I know are already siding with the organization in droves, so it won’t kill the fan support. The team on the other hand will stink for a while.

    Comment by Phil — February 27, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  100. There seemed to be a ole lt of StL fans that thought Pujols would take a “hometwon discount” to stay in StL, y’know because so many guys just love to play there.

    I’m not sure where they got that idea, since I don;t recall anyone ever actually taking a hometwon discount to play in “Baseball City, USA”.

    My concern with the Cardinals is not paying Pujols 30M/y for 8-10 years, but what they do if he walks.

    I can easily see (unfortunately) StL moving Berkman to 1B and Jay as the RF, and thinking that will suffice. Or Allen Craig at 1B/RF. Figure out the difference in WAR between Pujols and any of those scenarios and it’s not good.

    If StL fans are supporting the organization, then it probbly has more to do with “preparing for the worst” rather than “the FO is making a good decision”. Sort of how when the hottie you’re dating breaks up with you and you justify it by saying that you didn;t really love her anyway, or start dwelling on her flaws … even though you’ll know that you’ll never have better.

    The Cardinals only have “league average” or better players at slightly less than half of their starting position players. Pujols has allowed them to get away with this, because he puts up 3+X’s league average WAR. If he’s gone, then they’ll have to get better than league average at least at 2 other positions.

    My concern is that StL ends up (1) spending more total money for less total WAR, or (2) just goes with what they have and end with with ~5 less WAR in the starting positions.

    There’s not a Kent Bottenfeld for Jim Edmonds trade to made in this situation.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 27, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

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