St. Louis Cardinals' Contracts of Six-Plus Years Have Been a Success

Tim FitzgeraldContributor IJanuary 7, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 07:  Matt Holliday #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals smiles before taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game One of the NLDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Dodger Stadium on October 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

A big deal has been made about the length of Matt Holliday's contract.  There's certainly a risk that his production could decline after age 35 or that a big injury will hit him.   But this is something the current Cardinals ownership and management have done when they want to lock down a player to be part of their core. 

They've done it with Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Albert Pujols, and technically, Chris Carpenter.  The Cards added five years with an option to the one year with an option remaining on his previous deal.

That's a pretty good track record so far.  All of those guys were injured to varying degrees, which comes with the territory of signing someone to a long-term deal.  But when healthy, they all have been very productive players, all stars, Cy Young winners and MVPs or MVP candidates. 

Some have said the Cards fell for Boras' "mystery team" and bid against themselves.  There was a concern for the Cards that Boras would hold out for a short-term, high salary deal.  But the Cardinals made their offer and then Boras shopped that around. No one was willing to match.

The Cards added a few years to lock down their guy and to get the process over with so they can fill the rest of their roster. St. Louis doesn't have a $200+ million payroll where they can add pieces to their team, and then if they still feel like it; add a $120 million deal later on.

It's also the nature of free agency.  No one's worth that much, but teams spend a little more to land their guy (DeRosa, Lackey, Cameron, Burnett, Burrell etc.)  And Holliday turned down $18 million a year with the Rockies before being put on the trade block, so his annual salary is just right considering that and the current market.

I'm not worried about being able to resign Pujos either.  He'll be happy with $25 million a year, we'll keep promoting from the farm and new Busch will be paid off soon.  Albert's main concern is not money.  He's already got a contract paying him deferred money till 2029.  Seriously. 

I know we keep thinking one contract has to top the next, but inflation can't last forever.  Bubbles burst when you keep inflating.  I think Pujols wanting $30 million a year isn't going to happen, and he'll re-up after this season before ever hitting the market.

Sure, things could change. 

He may want to top A-Rod or want a contract like Mauer will get since this will probably be Pujols' last contract.  But after about 10 years of following this guy religiously, it just doesn't seem like his M.O. 

I think he'll be happy to top Texeria by a little bit and trade some cash for all the other perks staying in St. Louis can offer him.

Be happy Cardinal fans.  Jeff Luhnow and co. will restock the farm, which isn't as bare as Keith Law would have you believe.  The Cardinals are trying to win it all and build off of last year's division championship for several years to come.