Residents of St. Louis might be feeling some relief this morning after the loss of key player and city staple Albert Pujols. When Pujols announced his departure from the Cardinals earlier this month, St. Louisians were up in arms. Feelings of betrayal paired with accusations of greed and deception made the split less than amicable, and many were questioning the future of the team sans Pujols. Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., however, said he expected Pujols’s departure to enhance the team’s payroll by $110 million, allowing the opportunity for the Cardinals to sign younger, equally talented players.
That $110 million will apparently be put to good use, as yesterday the organization went public with its decision to sign fielder Carlos Beltran. Pending the results of a physical, Beltran and the 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a two-year and reportedly $26 million contract. For many, the signing of Beltran brings great relief after the loss of Pujols. This past season, he batted .300 with 22 home runs, 84 RBIs and a .385 on-base percentage while playing for the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. The switch-hitter is a six-time All-Star with a .283 career batting average, 302 home runs and 1,146 RBIs.
After losing Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, the Cardinals and the city of St. Louis can finally breathe a sigh of relief. “Beltran is a proven outfielder who obviously has been a tough opponent against the Cardinals for many years,” St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “It is going to be nice to have his bat and competitive nature working for us instead of on the other side of the field for the next couple of years.” With the re-signing of shortstop Rafael Furcal to a two-year, $14 million contract and the addition of left-handed reliever J.C. Romero, the team’s roster is shaping up to be pretty solid for the 2012 season. Despite the loss of Pujols, the organization will undoubtedly remain one of the best in Major League Baseball.