MLB Franchise Notes: Cards' DeWitt Says "Fiscal Limitations" Prevented Pujols Signing
Cardinals Chair Bill DeWitt Jr. said yesterday that his inability to retain free agent 1B Albert Pujols "had nothing to do with a lack of organizational commitment but much to do with recognizing fiscal limitations." DeWitt said, "This is a very knowledgeable baseball market. I think they realize you can only do so much for a given player and compete year in and year out. 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 have more capacity." He added, "In no way was there a lack of commitment on our part." In St. Louis, Joe Strauss notes DeWitt's appearance yesterday at the Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up was "something of a surprise" since Cardinals Senior VP & GM John Mozeliak and team President Bill DeWitt III were scheduled to appear. DeWitt Jr. "took media questions for about 20 minutes and made an appearance before fans gathered" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/16). Mozeliak on Saturday said that the team's "payroll is assured to be more than $110 million despite Pujols' absence" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/15).
REPRESENTING IN DC: In DC, Thomas Boswell noted if the Nationals sign free agent 1B Prince Fielder but "don't extend the contract of Ryan Zimmerman ... then by opening day 2014 almost the entire Washington starting lineup -- seven players -- might be clients of agent Scott Boras." If Fielder "arrives in DC, crowds and TV ratings may skyrocket." That could "change the financial picture and smooth a new five-year deal that's due this year with MASN that might double the current $28 million local-TV rate" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/14).
OPERATION OWNERSHIP: YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan wrote no team "generates ill feelings today quite like the Orioles." Since buying the Orioles in '93, Peter Angelos "has shuffled through as many baseball-operations bosses as Liz Taylor did marriages." Eight men "have run the Orioles in the last 18 years." It is an "embarrassing number, and Angelos is one of the few owners whose mere presences revolts a fan base." Passan: "Unless the 82-year-old Angelos somehow can reinvigorate the magic from his early days of ownership, the Orioles are destined to mediocrity or, as has been the case for years now, even worse" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/12).
LOOKING UP: In L.A., Jill Painter noted the Dodgers' "impending television rights deal is an unbelievable caveat for the new owner, but so is the opportunity to win over fans and restore the Dodgers' rightful place as one of the premier sports franchises." Many of the players vying for the team are "building campaigns on rebuilding the once-proud organization." They are "all local, so it's an investment that bleeds more than just dollar signs." If the new owner "steers the Dodgers back on track, he'll have the keys to the city." Painter: "Whoever buys the team has nowhere to go but up" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/14).