I would appreciate reaction to a hypothetical trade involving the Dodgers, Cardinals and Marlins. Below are the players, their ages, and reported (2010) salaries, as well as, some reasons for how the teams involved could possibly benefit from this trade.
To the Marlins:
To the Cardinals:
To the Dodgers:
If we can put aside the likelihood that Pujols would want to stay in St. Louis and would likely not want to play for a team owned by Frank McCourt, then here are some reasons why this trade might work.
For the Dodgers:
Although Pujols will likely command in the neighborhood of $30,000,000. per year in a multi-year deal, the Dodgers would be getting a generational superstar who is a good citizen and the kind of role model that would be a benefit to the young players on the Dodger roster. A lineup with Ethier batting in front of Pujols and Manny batting behind Pujols will ensure that Ethier sees a lot of good pitches and reduces the likelihood that Pujols will be "pitched around". Colletti will also get rid of two Dave Stewart clients who both have had problems staying focused. Having to fill the gap in centerfield and come up with another starting pitcher is the price of getting the best player in baseball.
For the Cardinals:
Hanley Ramirez will fill a huge hole in the middle of their infield and provide great offensive production. No one player can replace a Pujols but Ramirez will do just fine. He is a genuine superstar, younger than Pujols and more affordable. With Matt Holliday, Chris Carpenter, Kyle Lohse, Brad Penny, Adam Wainwright and Ryan Ludwick on the payroll, the Cardinals are going to have a hard time matching free agency offers for Albert Pujols. Moreover, they are getting great production out of young players like Colby Rasmus and David Freese. Getting Hanley Ramirez, a serviceable first baseman in James Loney and another starting pitcher in Chad Billingsley might be as good a deal as they could hope for. Billingsley might just need a change of scenery, a new manager, a new pitching coach, etc. to blossom. Trading Pujols will not go down well with Cardinal fans (no more than if Busch had tried to trade Stan Musial -- but these are different times with different expectations).
For the Marlins:
If history is a guide, the Marlins are not going to be able to afford to keep a Hanley Ramirez. With Kemp, they buy some time and get a potential superstar for a few more years than they would have with Ramirez and with Sherrill they get a possile left-handed stopper (a gamble that he can come close to replicating the gaudy numbers he put up last year and a willingness to overlook the disastrous start he had this year).