I've heard a lot of comments from readers who speculate that Albert Pujols' untimely broken arm will have a major negative impact on his upcoming free agency.
It's easy to speculate that decreased production will equal decreased dollars on the paycheck. That's the way things work in the real world after all.
But that was before the Cardinals decided to complete fall apart in the wake of Albert's injury, it's fairly obvious to me that Pujols holds all the bargaining power. After all, a team that had the best record in baseball with him suddenly is 1-5 without him.
If things don't turn around soon, the Cardinals are going to go from trade deadline buyers to trade deadline sellers. And the club is going to have to pay Pujols whatever he wants since he seems to be the only guy on the team who has any heart, who can hit the ball when it counts or who can catch the ball. I wonder if he can pitch...
Sure, it's a blow when a team loses it's best player. But the Cardinals recent slump is completely uncalled for. It's not like Pujols is the only decent -- or highly paid -- guy on the roster. And let's not forget that he was having the worst season of his career at the time he was injured. Sure, he was on a pace to hit 40 homers and drive in 100 runs. But he was hitting about 50 points below his career average and left more ducks on the pond in the first two months of the season than Elmer Fudd.
Since Pujols was injured, Lance Berkman is hitting .208, Matt Holliday is hitting .190 and Yadier Molina is hitting .250. Of course the real problem is that the Cardinals are making fielding mistakes left and right that are burying the pitchers. Maybe without fear of a glare from Pujols after yet another miscue Ryan Theriot feels free to keep his head up his posterior all the time...
There's just no excuse for how poor the Cardinals are playing. They have as much talent on the field as the Reds and Brewers even without Pujols. Manager Tony La Russa needs to knock some heads and make an example out of somebody quick because these Redbirds suddenly resemble the 2010 Get Two Runs Behind And Call it a Day Redbirds.