I heard the news yesterday on the St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols not being able to reach an agreement on a new contract for the 2012 season and beyond. Since they were not able to reach consensus on a new contract, Pujols will not negotiate with the team during the season. Pujols says that he doesn't want his contract status to be a distraction to his teammates during this season. I don't know about you, but if I declined to sign the reported 8-year $200-million dollar deal ($25-million per year) I think that would be something of a distraction.
To be honest, I'm not sure where I stand on this. Like Justin and I spoke about yesterday. Alex Rodriguez's contract with the New York Yankees in 2007 was for 10-years $275-million dollars and the fact that Albert Pujols is (IMHO) the best player in the game, it stands to reason that he would want a contract either on par with A-Rod's if not better. On the other hand, $25-million a year isn't a shabby piece of cash. In the end, we're all debating amounts of money, that unless we are extremely lucky, will never see in our lifetimes. Does it mean Pujols is wrong?
As I said with the Derek Jeter contract situation a few months ago, there's nothing wrong with wanting to get paid what you are feel you are worth. We all do it when we ask for a raise and if we don't get said raise, we leave our job for a newer higher paying job. Granted the amounts between us and Pujols are astronomical but the basic idea is the same. At the same time, can the St. Louis Cardinals pay Pujols $30-million per year and be able to put a competitive team around him on a yearly basis? As it is they are in the hole for $17-million per year through 2016 (with a team option for 2017). Add to the mix that ace Adam Wainright is entering free agency after this season (the club holds a $9-million option for 2012 and a $12-million option for 2013). What do the Cardinals do. If the Cardinals don't resign their franchise player, who can.
Rob Neyer of SBNation reports in his post On Trading Albert Pujols For Another Slugging First Baseman on Ken Rosenthal's suggestion that the Cardinals can trade Pujols to the Yankees for their first baseman Mark Teixeira since the Yankees may be the one of the only teams that can pay Pujols the 10-years $30-million dollars that apparently he is looking for. Aside from the simple pleasure I would gain from hearing the Boston Red Sox fans moan about this move, it is an amazing scenario from a Yankee fan's perspective.
Rosenthal also mentions Ryan Howard as a potential trade chip for Pujols. The baseball world was put on it's ear with the rumor of a potential trade last Spring Training between the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals of Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols, one for one. I compared both players against each other in a post from last season Pujols vs. Howard and I stand by my same point of view from last season. If I'm Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., I make the deal without hesitation. Knowing now how much of a shrewd negotiator Amaro is with his signing of Cliff Lee this past offeason, anything is possible. But realistically, can the Phillies sign Pujols for $30-million a year.
Pujols was quoted as saying "I want to be a Cardinal forever. That's my goal." I believe he is sincere in his statements and I think the Cardinals and Pujols get a deal done. I believe both sides need each other. Pujols will go down as one of the all-time greats of the game and deserves to be side by side in the Cardinals pantheon of greats alongside Stan Musial, only if he plays his remaining days in St. Louis.
For Further Reading:
- Click Here to access Jayson Stark's article Albert Pujols Speaks dated February 17, 2011 from ESPN.com
- Click Here to access Rob Neyer's article On Trading Albert Pujols For Another Slugging First Baseman dated January 15, 2011 from SBNation.com