St. Louis principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr.spoke at the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up fan festival Sunday, eager to contradict claims the club was less than aggressive in their attempts to retain free agent 1B Albert Pujols. Except, of course, they weren’t actually competing on a level playing field. From MLB.com’s Matthew Leach ;
“I think [Cardinals fans] realize that you can only do so much for a given player and compete year in and year out,” he said. “It’s not, is he worth X, or X times two? It’s how much can I afford to pay one player and put together a team that’s going to be competitive? That’s the whole jigsaw puzzle that all teams have. Some teams have more capacity. I don’t think there’s any secret, [the Angels] at their own press conference thanked FOX for their new [television rights package]. That certainly had a hand in it.”
As for one specific argument by Deidre Pujols, that she and her husband were “insulted” by a five-year offer from the club, DeWitt argued that it was an attempt to try something different after previous efforts hadn’t worked. Deidre Pujols spoke extensively to a radio station in St. Louis shortly after the deal with the Angels was completed.
“I think they made it clear that that initial offer, they weren’t happy with,” he said. “It really was a response to where we had been in the spring with a long-term contract with lower AAV [average annual value]. We got a sense that maybe shorter with a higher AAV might have some merit. But clearly, they were looking longer the whole way. But until you explore those things, you’re never really 100 percent sure.”