It is not a good day to be a Cardinals fan.
Or a Cubs fan. Or a Marlins fan. Or a fan of anyone in the AL West. Or a fan of anyone in the AL, for that matter.
Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, sources told Buster Olney today.
The contract should be in the ball park of 10 years, $250 million. He has a full no trade clause included.
This is so bizarre. I totally expected Pujols to sign back with the Cardinals unless offered a monster contract by somebody else. Ya know, more monstrous than the $220 million Miami was going to pay him. The Angels had always been a dark horse candidate for Albert, but I never considered them legit.
Pujols was clearly the golden egg free agent in this years class. As many people know, Pujols is arguably the greatest right handed hitter in the history of baseball. Last season, he finished top five in MVP voting while batting .299 with 37 home runs and 99 runs batted in despite missing extensive time with a wrist injury. The Cardinals won the World Series in six games against the Rangers.
I cannot help but wonder if he would have stayed in St. Louis had manager Tony La Russa prolonged his retirement. Fresh off a world series championship with the core of your team intact, in a city where you are considered royalty? There must be an underlying issue here.
Another interesting point I’d like to bring up is this: Pujols is going to get no flak for choosing to go to Anaheim. It’s his decision, as a free agent, to pick where he wants to work. It’s as simple as that. The truth of the matter is, for whatever reason, LeBron James was tagged a villain for ‘taking his talents to South Beach’. Was part of it the way he televised his ‘Decision’? Probably, but that couldn’t be the entire reason why he went from being public hero to loathed antichrist, right? Another way LeBron James has been unfairly judged and treated in his NBA career. But, I digress…
Anytime you dish out a ten year contract to somebody, you had better be pretty close to 100% sure that it’s gonna be worth it ten years form now. For instance, when A-Rod signed that monstrous contract with the Yankees, he was 25 years old and already a five time All Star. We were all fairly certain that Alex Rodriguez was the next big thing in baseball. And, to be fair, he was. He went on to win three MVP awards and lead the league in slugging four times.
A-Rod’s second contract was not so good. He signed it when he was 32, one year older than Pujols is right now. He hasn’t finished higher than 10th in MVP voting since 2008 and hasn’t batted .300 since he signed the contract. Red flag number one?
A-Rod is set to make over $30 million next year at the not-so-ripe age of 37. Kobe Bryant is getting paid that much at 32 and it feels like a financial poop sauce. In 2011, Rodriguez hit 16 home runs and hit into 13 double plays. He registered 67 runs and struck out 80 times. It’s fair to say he’s on the downslope of his career. And he has FIVE MORE YEARS LEFT IN HIS CONTRACT!
Think the Yankees won that deal? No.
Pujols is a slugger. He swings a big stick. He’s got a pretty decent chance of being the all time leader in home runs if he keeps it up. But, how many 35 year old players can still bash fastballs like they could when they were healthy and 30? Not many. Of the top ten home run hitters of 2011, zero of them were older than 32.
Basically what I am trying to tell you is that if Albert Pujols is worth, baseball wise, 20+ million dollars when he’s 41 years old, everybody who read this column has my exclusive permission to find me, hang me up on a tree like a pinata, and beat the snot out of me until I remember why.
Big Al is a great player. But good GM’s don’t pay for resumes.
Well, that was my dissection of the Albert Pujols signing. Agree, disagree? Please leave a comment below! I know every writer says that, but I’m serious. I thoroughly enjoy your feedback.