Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard: Seriously?

Currently on “This Week in Stupid Trade Rumors,” I saw a story this evening on ESPN that the Phillies discussed offering the Cardinals their slugger Ryan Howard for three-time National League Most Valuable Player (and St. Louis institution) Albert Pujols.  Not sure if the story is legit, since it quoted unnamed sources and featured a flat denial from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro.  Either way, the proposed trade is, for lack of a better word, retarded.  If it did get discussed by Phillies’ brass, I’m going to assume it happened during some kind of drinking game or “Truth or Dare” contest.

The only thing more ridiculous than the Phillies soliciting the Cardinals for this sort of deal would be if St. Louis actually went for it.  If I’m St. Louis and I get this call, I assume it’s some kids pulling a prank.  You do not trade Albert Pujols, not under any circumstances.  Not for Joe Mauer, not for Tim Lincecum (if the Giants could do that deal, I’d tell them to sign off on it tonight, maybe throw in Pablo Sandoval if that’s what it took) and certainly not for Ryan Howard.

I could probably list ten players I’d want on my team before Howard, a rather ordinary, one-dimensional player who just happens to hit the ball a mile.  That’s really all he does, kind of like a left-handed version of Frank Thomas without the good batting average or career longevity. Howard didn’t get going until he was 25, is now 30 and with his large frame, I’d be surprised if he’s still going strong in five years.  And players like him are fairly replaceable, even if he does have the same name as one of the characters on The Office, which seems like it should be good for some kind of promotional tie-in.

The ESPN story discussed proposed trades of players at the top of their games, like a Ted Williams-for-Joe DiMaggio swap that was once actually discussed between New York and Boston.  Howard and Pujols are far less even, though.

I doubt Howard makes the Hall of Fame.  On the other hand, Pujols is almost certainly a first ballot selection.  He rates superior to Howard in pretty much every offensive category, notably career batting average (.334 to .279), on-base percentage (.427 to .360) and slugging percentage (.628 to .586, not that Howard suffers in this category, Pujols just happens to have the best slugging percentage of any active player, fourth best all-time, in fact.)  In addition, Pujols is two months younger than Howard and essentially a once-in-a-generation talent.  Unless a positive steroid test surfaces, count on Pujols eventually being classed with Hank Aaron, Ted Williams and Willie Mays.

4 Replies to “Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard: Seriously?”

  1. I saw this trade rumor too and immediately was all over talking to my friends and analyzing the ramifications. Pujols is said to be a few months younger than Howard. Yeah right his birth certificate is not correct i’d say add 2 or 3 years to him. This doesn’t discount at all the fact that he is THE BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL. The only feasible thing we could see in this deal would be the fact that at the end of his contract the cardinals just won’t be able to afford pujols but will be able to keep howard. If this trade went through straight up the cards would be crazy. Also the flat out denial from the phillies is a must at all times. You never say publicly that you are thinking about trading one of your best players. If the deal didn’t go through which it probably won’t and howard was still there which he will be he would feel a little less secure. Kinda like well I guess I don’t mean too much to them. Thats just business. In highschool albert hit a homerun off me in a tournament in Missouri after I stuck him out twice. No one ever hit a ball so far. It cleared the right center field fence and ended up on the other side of the track and field track. Not to mention there was 2 fences and at least 50 ft or so of grass between the baseball field and the edge of the track. For sure first ballot HOF inductee.

    1. I talked to an old-timer once who grew up with Joe DiMaggio and claimed he made him whiff on the playground. I have a hard time believing him, though I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here. You should write a post on the experience, if you haven’t already.

  2. Yea, this is pretty ridiculous. Even if the Cardinals couldn’t afford Pujols they would be better off trading for someone’s top 6 prospects instead of Howard. Howard is still going to cost a ton of money when his contract is up in 2011 and albert will be worth every penny above Howards contract plus the extra fans he brings in pays for the additional money anyway. If Pujols was gone, attendance would immediately go down because the cards wouldn’t win as much and the fans that came for Pujols wouldn’t show.

    @marcus at least you could say you struck out a first ballot hall of famer twice in one game. And to be hones I can’t believe Pujols struck out twice in one game in high school. He might only do that once a season in the pros.

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