clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Diamondbacks Game Preview #121: 8/21 vs. Cardinals

Today is the last game at Chase for a couple of legends.

St. Louis Cardinals v Colorado Rockies Photo by Harrison Barden/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Lars Nootbaar - RF Carson Kelly - C
Brendan Donovan - 3B Emmanuel Rivera - 3B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Ketel Marte - DH
Nolan Arenado - DH Christian Walker - 1B
Nolan Gorman - 2B Stone Garrett - LF
Tyler O'Neill - CF Josh Rojas - 2B
Corey Dickerson - LF Jordan Luplow - RF
Paul DeJong - SS Jake McCarthy - CF
Andrew Knizner - C Geraldo Perdomo - SS
Jose Quintana - LHP Merrill Kelly - RHP

When Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina started their professional baseball careers in 1999 and 2000 respectively, I was still living in London, and only thinking about moving to Arizona. Now, more than 20 years later, the pair are retiring from the game, and their farewell tour makes its stop at Chase Field this afternoon, with their final contest here. Unsurprisingly, they lead most categories in terms of St. Louis's players at Chase Field, largely through sheer longevity. For example, Molina had had 57 hits here as a Cardinal and Pujols 50. Nobody else has even half as many, with the next most being Edgar Renteria on 24. But they have both hit very well here: Molina has an average of .330 at Chase, and Pujols .321 as a Cardinal (and .310 overall).

With them retiring together, they will become eligible for the Hall of Fame together, five years down the road. What are their chances? It's an interesting conversation. Molina has certainly shown incredible longevity, at a position which puts horrendous wear and tear on a player's body. Only five catchers have more regular season games than Molina and just Jorge Posada has more playoff appearances. But in all that time, Molina has only two seasons where he has been worth more than 3.2 bWAR. Despite being a 10-time All Star, he has never finished higher than third in the MVP voting. He'll probably finish with an OPS+ for his career around 95, and that may not be enough to cut it. Good defense and his undoubted role in the Cardinals' clubhouse will work in his favour, but it feels like an uphill battle.

Turning to Pujols, if you'd asked me at the end of 2015, I'd have said he was a lock, being about to pass 100 bWAR, with three MVP awards and five more podium finishes. But the twilight of his career has, frankly, been a struggle. Over the last six seasons, despite his recent resurgence, Albert has been below replacement level, and was embarrassingly released from the Angels, even if he does appear likely to finish over 100 bWAR. It's definitely a case of limping towards the finish line, but if Pujols can finish strong and get the eight home-runs he needs to reach 700 in his career, I think he'll almost certainly be going to Cooperstown. Though to that end, he won't be facing Madison Bumgarner again...