Et Tu, Molina? (Pars Duo)

A few years ago I wrote a cautionary piece foretelling the eventual departure of one Yadier Molina — SUPREME JEFFY MANCRUSH — if the Cardinals somehow didn’t resign Albert Pujols to a long, career stabilizing contract.  I wrote it flippantly, thinking this will never happen in real life.

And then real life hit.

Albert Pujols is gone and Yadi doesn’t seem to be as in love with the Cardinals as the Cardinals faithful are in love with him:

“I love the city. I love the fans, I love the park. But it’s out of my hands. Whatever they like to do is how it is … They let Albert [Pujols] go. It’s business for the team, too. It’s out of my hands.” (source)

Um… wrong.  One, dearest Yadier, it most certainly IS in your hands.  And two, the Cardinals DID NOT “let Albert go.”  They made him a very good offer, one that would most likely highjack the team for the latter half of this decade, one that would have made Albert a very, very, VERY rich man.

And he declined.

For more money.

I don’t have a problem with millionaire ballplayers chasing the money — but I do have a problem with framing the situation in a salacious manner.  To say the Cardinals did not put any effort in retaining Mr. Pujols’ services is as reckless as it is inaccurate.

Here at RSBS, it is no secret that Yadier is my most beloved Cardinal.  The St. Louis brass would be wise to pay the man whatever he wants, and I would applaud their efforts to do so.

But if I’ve learned anything about professional sports the last few months it’s that I’ve been clinging to the delusion that athletes give a f*** about the “home team”, about creating a “legacy”, about “loyalty”.

It’s about money and it will always be about money.  I’m okay with that now.

If the Cardinals do the right thing and throw bank at Molina to keep him, then I’ll be ecstatic.  But I also live in reality these days, so I’m fully prepared to see him in a Halos jersey in 2013.

Hate me.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

6 Comments

It’s not like it was when we were kids, Jeff. Treasure all of your Ozzie Smith memorabelia, I guess, and think of the way it used to be. It’s doubtfull any of my kids will have a favoite player that will stay with their team for a career. I’m going to put on my Fidrych shirt…
–Mike

Indeed, Mike. Different times now. Don’t get too attached!

The curse of free agency, I guess. At least it’s not as bad as some sports where the roster seems to turn over on a yearly basis.
-Sue

I actually am not sure if athletes are primarily for the money. It sure seems as though most people leave and don’t care about loyalty, but I also think that re-signings are really quiet. Sure it’s like an earthquake if it’s your player being re-signed, but players signing with the same team isn’t national news like players signing in the Free Agent Market. The more that I think about it, for every Albert Pujols and Carl Crawford, there is a Jered Weaver or Joe Mauer, that actually does take the discount (steeper in the case of Weaver) to stay with their team. For example, I actually had to think to remember that C.C. Sabathia re-signed with the Yankees this offseason, but I have no problem remembering the whole saga that surrounded him initially coming to the Yankees.
-Mateo
http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

I too dislike it when the players can’t just come out and say it’s the money. Just be honest. I can’t remember the exact quote, but at his Angels signing press conference Torii Hunter talked about how much he loved and appreciated his time with the Twins and then said something to the effect of ‘But Arte offered me so much money, my mama would have slapped me if I it turned down.’ and it could not have been more charming. Gotta love Torii! As for your conclusion, yikes, I had no idea how badly the Angels have scarred you. Last year at this time your go to snark would have been “I expect to see him in pinstripes.”…not that I would mind it if the Angels did try to collect the complete Molina brothers action pack.
— Kristen

Mateo — You have a point, to a degree, but I can’t think of too many superstars who stayed with their original team in recent years. I’m having a hard time even considering Mauer as a superstar since he seems to have fallen off. Weaver yes, I’ll give you that. CC, don’t forget, did not stay with the Brewers. He chased the $$$ and after the Yankees paid him all that dough, where else would he go? No one was gonna outpay the Yankees.
Kristen — Yadi and Albert are best friends. Like, brothas from anotha motha. The Molina legacy in Anaheim is just the cherry on top. If the Cards don’t sign him he’s an Angel next year.
–Jeff

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