"Holliday, as noted above, thrived after his trade to St. Louis, and the Cardinals, despite some payroll limitations, figure to be serious bidders. They could use him. At first, it seemed that signing Holliday might make it more difficult for the Cards to see to the more essential business of signing Albert Pujols to a contract extension. In recent days, though, the matter has become a bit more complicated.As the Cardinals look into giving Holliday an extension, the first thing they need to do is set aside $25-$30 million bucks annually because that's essentially what it's going to cost to keep Albert Pujols in St. Louis long term. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about that; the Cardinals need to keep Pujols at all costs.
If the Cardinals re-upped with Holliday, then there would be less room in the budget for a mammoth Pujols contract. On the other hand, if the Cardinals don't re-sign Holliday, then Pujols might question ownership's devotion to winning. Also keep in mind the Cardinals gave up top prospect Brett Wallace — among others — to get Holliday. That fact only adds to the pressure to re-sign him."
Now, if the Cardinals plan to operate with a budget somewhere in the $90 million dollar range for next few seasons, that would leave between $60-$65 million for the Cardinals to spend on the other 24 players once they extend Pujols.
Now ask yourself this, can the Cardinals afford to commit $15-$20 million dollars annually to Matt Holliday if they only have $60-$65 million to play with for the other 24 spots on the roster?
I'd have a tough time arguing for that logic. A team cannot simply commit roughly 45-50% of the their total payroll to just two players, even if they are two of the best players in the world. That's just not a winning formula, especially in baseball where there are so different aspects and facets to constructing a competitive team.
There's no doubt that the Cardinals right now are in a bind. As Perry noted, it's vital for the franchise to make every effort possible to keep Matt Holliday around to show Pujols that they are serious about putting a winning product on the field, however, the Cardinals would be better off letting Holliday go, retaining their financial flexibility, and trying to improve the club in other ways.
Remember folks, if people don't think the Cardinals are serious about winning, all they need to do is look back at this summer when the Cardinals traded for Matt Holliday. Even though they lost, that was the move that signaled that the Cardinals were serious about winning and that they were going to go for it. Even if the Cardinals cannot re-sign Holliday, I think their negotiations with Albert Pujols will go along as planned and he will sign the new richest contract in Cardinals history.
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