The St. Louis Cardinals talks this week with the Anaheim Angels about shortstop Erick Aybar are the perfect example of why it has been so difficult for the Redbirds to make a trade as the the non-waiver deadline rapidly approaches.
What did the Angels ask for a guy with a .309 on-base percentage and a hefty new contract? Only top Cardinals pitching prospects Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, according to multiple reports. I hope St. Louis GM John Mozeliak hung up on the Angels representative on the other end of the phone line.
But that's the nature of doing business in Major League Baseball when everybody knows you've got several highly-touted prospects. Other teams don't want the scraps, they want the steak. And no matter if it's a mediocre shortstop, an injury prone and over-paid starting pitcher or a bullpen lefty, other teams are going to ask for the moon and stars in return.
Despite the Cardinals' recent lousy streak, I still think they're going to turn things around and make the playoffs. But I don't believe Mozeliak should give into temptation and sell the future for players who aren't going to dramatically improve the present.
And I wouldn't overpay the Angels at any cost if it were my decision. Yes, we're all in agreement that the Cardinals are much better off without Albert Pujols. But that doesn't excuse Anaheim from the responsibility it has for offering a 32-year-old player a quarter of a billion contract that destroyed the last shreds of sanity in the MLB cost structure.
After all, it's not really the multi-millionaires and billionaires who pay the cost of these ridiculous giveaway contracts. It's us folks who pay for tickets and cable television subscriptions that really end up paying for their mistakes. My only surprise about the Angels' outrageous demands is that they didn't ask the Cardinals to take Pujols and his contract as part of the deal.
So, Mo, just say no to taking somebody's over-paid veteran players off their hands.