Cards’ strategy in Pujols talks was odd, maybe even insulting

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It probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway because the Angels blew away the competition with their 10-year, $254 million contract offer to Albert Pujols, but it’s now being revealed that the Cardinals’ higher-ups made a number of odd decisions in their negotiations for the first baseman and franchise icon.

Like, for instance, offering him a five-year, $130 million contract as a starting point this winter, down from the nine-year, $198 million bid that was made last spring. And refusing to match the Angels’ 10-year personal services contract that will keep Pujols a member of the Anaheim organization in some capacity for at least the next 20 years.

Maybe these were calculated steps by the Cardinals front office. Perhaps they determined at some point this past season that they didn’t want to get locked into a 10-year deal with a 32-year-old first baseman — which, by most analyses, would be a more-than-reasonable business decision. But the shrewdness may have pushed Albert away, giving him all the more self-justification to chase the highest dollar amount.

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more:

The marathon left Pujols drained, admittedly emotional and finally resigned to the fact that Angels’ owner Arte Moreno’s long-distance lightning strike offered a greater sense of belonging as well as more dollars.

“It was about the way he made me feel,” Pujols said. “Arte made me feel like he wanted me to be with the Angels forever. He doesn’t want me to be 37 years old and go somewhere else. … It was about the commitment.”

In the end, the Angels outbid the Cardinals by nearly $40 million. And that’s certainly the primary reason Pujols made the decision to leave for southern California. But any chance of the Redbirds getting a hometown discount was likely tarnished early on by the potentially insulting tactics of the St. Louis front office.

Ty Blach to undergo Tommy John surgery

Ty Blach Tommy John
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Orioles pitcher Ty Blach will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on Wednesday, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports. Teammate Richie Martin, a shortstop, will also undergo surgery on his right wrist the same day, Kubatko adds.

Blach, 29, experienced soreness in his left elbow on Thursday during an intrasquad game. He will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2020 season as well as most of the 2021 season.

The Orioles selected Blach off waivers from the Giants in early August last year. Over 27 combined innings, the lefty allowed 36 earned runs on 46 hits and 17 walks with 20 strikeouts.

Martin, 25, injured his wrist on a slide during an intrasquad game on Friday. The Orioles initially described the injury as just a fingernail laceration, but an X-ray revealed a broken bone. Martin made his major league debut last year, posting a .581 OPS over 309 plate appearances.

Kubatko notes that the timetable for Martin’s recovery is two to three months. It is difficult to see Martin playing in any games this season.