Originally Posted by Dan
There's an argument to be made that he wasn't?
I have been gone for several weeks now do to real life issues but this thread caught my eye. I think an argument can be made for Ivan Rodriguez. Not only is his batting average better than Bench, Rodriguez is arguably the best defensive catcher in the history of the game. They played in different eras so the whole "who is better" argument is hard to determine. I also think that Gary Carter is overlooked as well.
As far as Pujols goes, Puffy is right to bring up some of those issues but I think you also have to weigh what has happened to offense on a whole in the past five years. Offense, baseball wide, continues to decline and it begs the question, is Pujols declining or is it just pitching continuing to become a dominant factor in the game. This could be the first year in a long time where the NL leader in home runs doesn't achieve a 40 home run season. Granted, home runs are not the end all when discussing the decline in offense league wide but it certainly is a stat of note. Also, I think what you have to take into account is that Pujols had a horrible two months at the beginning of the season but since June, he has hit to about his norm. I don't think one down year (or two bad months) is an indication that a player is starting to decline.
Also, I think one factor in Pujols not walking as much is that there is a lot of protection behind him with Holliday and Berkman, which is something he hasn't had since the 04 season. Pitchers are pitching to him more this season rather than intentionally walking him or pitching around him than in other years. I also think that Pujols would thrive even more in a hitters park like GABP so even if he is "declining", adjusting for ballpark he might do well.
Puffy you also make the mistake in comparing him with Griffey. Not only is Griffey not as good as a player as Pujols is (even if you take out all Griffey's years after the age of 30), you cannot take one set of injuries on a given player and apply them to another player as if it is almost the rule. Pujols does not play the highly athletic position of outfield like Griffey did nor does he have even half of the injury history of Griffey. In Pujols career, he has only spent three 15 day stints on the DL, including this year. Griffey had a couple of injuries, including a major injury in 95, before he even turned 30. Even taking this year into account, Pujols has yet to play in less than 140 games in his career, where as with Griffey, he failed to even reach that mark several times. Is Pujols worth 30 million? No. However I still think you will get good to great production with him for another five years especially if he went to a hitters ballpark like GABP, Fenway, or Yankee Stadium.