The latest rumor is that the Cardinals might not be so uninterested in former Brewers slugging first baseman Prince Fielder after all.
But I wonder how the Cardinals could justify paying Fielder the amount it would take to land him when they wouldn't open the checkbook to sign iconic Cardinals future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols.
Anyone who thinks Fielder will be signed for five years at $20 million or less a season is out of their mind. Fielder was offered at least that much by the Brewers a year ago and he turned it down. As we learned from the Pujols situation -- there is always one major league owner who is willing to make an idiotic offer.
So, if the Cardinals decide to make a fair market offer for Fielder, is it going to upset the fan base? Wouldn't it basically be admitting that the club made a mistake with Albert? If not that, it would be a pretty clear statement that the Redbirds thought that Pujols was over the hill or that he had something else to hide. I know if the Cardinals gave Fielder $200 million that I would be wondering why the heck they couldn't have made a more aggressive bid for the fans' first choice.
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If St. Louis would have signed Pujols and he started to slide, they would have had at least some margin for error in that Albert was a beloved local hero and -- even if he stopped hitting .328 with 35 homers a year, they could still take their kids to see him climb up the Cardinals record book. Fielder won't get the same sort of leeway if he gets a fat contract and then lets himself go (ahem.)
Fielder is easy to look at with suspicion because he was a member of the Cardinals most heated rival over the last five years. I'm not saying I wouldn't want him to be at first base for the Cardinals at any price. I'm just saying I don't think the Cardinals can pay the price it would take to put him there.
If I was the St. Louis GM I don't think I would be willing to pay more than about seven years and $150 million. And I just can't see that getting the job done.