Cardinals “reluctant” to give five-year deal to Jimmy Rollins, could pursue Carlos Beltran

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Jimmy Rollins has been linked to the Cardinals following Albert Pujols’ departure, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that they “would be reluctant to enter the bidding for Rollins” unless he backs off demands for a five-year deal.

Philadelphia is also said to be very much against the idea of giving Rollins a five-year commitment at age 33, so the shortstop changing his stance may be inevitable.

Allen Craig is expected to replace Pujols in St. Louis’ lineup, but he’ll likely miss at least the first month or two of the season following knee surgery and Goold writes that the Cardinals “have explored what the market is for outfielder Carlos Beltran.”

Beltran’s name has been connected to surprisingly few suitors this offseason, so if the price was right on a one- or two-year deal he’d be an excellent pickup for the Cardinals.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.