That's the average amount of games that Carlos Beltran has played per season the past 3 years. As astute baseball minds know, that's 67 games short of a full season and roughly 50 games less per year than Albert Pujols would have been in the lineup.
Herein lies the problem and the opportunity for Carlos Beltran. He's not Albert Pujols. He doesn't play the same position as Albert Pujols. He doesn't have a similar game to Albert Pujols.
But for all intent and purposes he's the guy that the Cardinals spent Pujols' money on. He's singed for 2 years, and like it or not, he's the guy after 'THE guy'.
Unlike Tino Martinez, who replaced Mark McGwire at the height of his popularity (nationally and locally) Carlos Beltran is in the perfect position to take advantage of what is, 99% of the time, a terrible situation to be in.
Because he WANTED to be in St. Louis.
The rational side of St. Louis baseball fans know that Albert Pujols left St. Louis for the money. And that the Cardinals are probably better off in the long run not having to pay a 40 year old player 25 million dollars a year in 2020. But that doesn't change 2 facts: 1) Albert Pujols is still going to be the best player in baseball in 2012 and he's going to be doing that in another uniform. 2) We can't but wonder if we just showed a little more love, if that would have changed Albert's mind about where he wanted to go.
Again, this isn't rational. St. Louis was great to Albert. Like it or not, though, we've been dumped. And after every dumping comes that period of time where we're sensitive to everyone we meet. Are we really good enough? Will we ever get someone as good as we had before? Etc, etc, etc.
Carlos Beltran is not going to be as good as Albert Pujols... BUT... he wanted us, when Albert didn't. He chose St. Louis over everyone else (no matter how few teams actually showed interest). And as long as he's willing to stroke our fragile ego for a couple of years, his production won't be scrutinized the way the guy that comes after Beltran will.
He's the rebound guy. And unless these next two years are a dumpster fire, he's going to do his job, get his money, and move on when we're ready to get serious with another player.
And as the rebound guy, I think I kind of love Carlos Beltran for the Cardinals. 2 years/26M is reasonable if Carlos can stay on the field. It's not long-term and it's for a guy who terrorized the Cardinals throughout the mid- 00's with the Mets. The Berkman gamble paid huge dividends, so why not double down?
Carlos Beltran is a Cardinal. Carlos Beltran is our rebound guy.