Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks so:
The St. Louis Cardinals ranked among Major League Baseball’s most successful franchises before Albert Pujols arrived.
And the Cardinals will remain prosperous long after the Pujols Era finally ends, however it ends.
Baseball is bigger than one player around here. It always has been, it always will be – despite perceptions outside the market … The franchise has locked in other star players, like former batting champ Matt Holliday, former Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter and former World Series hero Adam Wainwright. Given their durable fan support, the Cards would be able to redistribute the money Albert rejects to other high-end players.
Life would go on. St. Louis isn’t Cleveland. The Cardinals aren’t the Cavaliers. And Albert Pujols isn’t LeBron James.
On a very basic level he’s correct. But on a very basic level I would survive without Internet access, beer, television, books and steak. If you reduce any question to “can we survive without it,” the only must-haves are food, water and shelter. And maybe Internet access.
The question facing John Mozeliak isn’t about the Cardinals’ survival. It’s about taking the best course given the options currently at their disposal. The costs and benefits of letting Pujols go versus the costs and benefits of keeping him. And I don’t know how one can conclude that the Cardinals letting Pujols go would benefit the team. At all. Maybe it would be different if the Cards were a struggling organization, but they are quite clearly not.
Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball. While the Cardinals have one of the richest histories in all of baseball, they have never lost a player of his caliber. They shouldn’t start testing the fanbase by doing so now.