Joe Strauss asks "What could the Cardinals buy with $26 million?"
Possibly Adam Kennedy or Mark Loretta?
Could Chris Carpenter join an elite list?
Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter is making a strong case to win his second straight National League Cy Young Award.Of course, there's also the talk that this guy, I think his name is Albert Pujols, could win another MVP award.
Entering Saturday's game, Carpenter leads the NL with a 2.97 ERA and is tied for third in the league with 13 wins.
Only seven players in baseball history have won the award in consecutive years. The elite list includes Randy Johnson (1999-2002), Pedro Martinez (1999-2000), Greg Maddux (1992-1995), Roger Clemens (1986-1987 and 1997-1998), Jim Palmer (1975-1976), Sandy Koufax (1965 and 1966) and Denny McClain (1968-1969).
Palmer and Koufax are already in the Hall of Fame, and it's a near-given that Clemens, Maddux, Martinez and Johnson will be in the Hall once their playing days are over.
Even though he's not in the Hall, McClain was no slouch on the field either. He won 20 games at the age of 22, won 31 two years later, and 24 at the age of 25 before his career was derailed by off-the-field problems.
"You look at some of those who have done it, that makes it even more impressive," said St. Louis manager Tony La Russa. "I hope he wins it. It means he will pitch real well here to the end."
"[He's the] same guy I've seen since Day 1," Melvin said before Friday's game. "Every year, he's going to be a candidate for that. Look at his walks, his strikeouts. He's struck out 40 times this year. For a guy who's a power hitter, [he has] 70-some walks. He gets pitched differently than everybody else, puts up the numbers consistently the way he does. With pitchers going after him the way they do, he's doubly talented."
With 44 long balls on the year through Friday, Pujols has hit more than 40 home runs for the fourth straight season. In addition, he ranks in the top five in batting average (.321) and RBIs (116) and leads the Majors with 22 game-winning RBIs.
Also in contention for the award is Phillies slugger Ryan Howard (.311, 56 home runs and 138 RBIs through Friday).
"I haven't seen them talk about his time missed," said La Russa of the time Pujols spent on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle. "When you compare the 50 and the 40 [home runs], they don't factor in that he missed three weeks. You throw in three weeks of at-bats, I would think he might be at 50 as well."