Obviously, if Sandoval does not begin hitting soon, he will not get anything near what he is asking for on the free agent market, but if he turns around his season, he should be able to get around that much. Sandoval may not seem like a $20 million a year player. He has been erratic mixing very good years like 2009 and 2011 with off years like 2010. Sandoval is also probably more known for is colorful nicknames and often unsuccessful efforts to control his weight than for anything he has done on the field, but he is clearly one of the game's best young hitters. From 2009, his first year as a full time big leaguer through 2013, Sandoval 43rd in WAR among all non-pitchers. This may not sound too impressive, but, Sandoval is still only 27. Only five players are younger than Sandoval and have more WAR during those years.
The Cardinals are obviously a very good team, but some of the mistakes they make as an organization would draw much more attention if not for the best organization frame. One of the most memorable moments of the last World Series occurred in game four when Kolten Wong got picked off first base for the last out of the game with the tying run, in the person of Carlos Beltran, at the plate. It is not fair to blame that defeat on Wong as the Cardinals were in a very tough position, but if the top prospect for another organization had made such a mistake in a similar situation, it would likely have been viewed as a reflection on that organization. Similarly, failing to address the shortstop situation after 2012 was an organizational mistake.
The Timmy-Cain-Panda-Posey-Bumgarner Giants may never win another championship, but keeping that nucleus together is smart economic thinking and good for the Giants. If the Giants resign Lincecum and Pence, they will be poised to be a strong contending team in 2014, especially if they are able to add an above average hitting outfielder or a league average starting pitcher. It is unlikely that any trade of those two players would have left the team a similarly strong position for 2014.
This year’s World Series will be the second in a row in which neither the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox nor Philadelphia Phillies will be playing. The 2011 payroll for each of these teams was over $160 million; and in the case of the Yankees, well in excess of that number. No other team spent even $140 million on payroll in 2011. The Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals had the 11th and 13th highest payroll, with each spending between $90-$110 million assembling their pennant winning teams.