Three time MLB National League MVP Albert Pujols is closer to free agency following the failure to reach an agreement with the St. Louis Cardinals by the long-set deadline of February 16, 2011. Club leaders in a Jupiter, Florida press conference said that it was a “substantial and long-term offer” which was first presented in January and adjusted many times since.
Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and General Manager John Mozeliak declined to comment on specifics of the initial offer, but according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, sources close to the deal describe figures like $200 million over a nine or 10 year period. Allegedly the Pujols contract has taken many forms and is even said to have included an equity stake in the Cardinals program. Apparently that is not good enough.
Pujols enters his “walk-year” having led the NL in home runs and runs batted in for the 2010 season. He also won his second Golden Glove. Career stats are as follows: .331 batting average, 408 home runs, 1,230 runs batted in and a 1.050 on-base-plus-slugging average. The man is good, but is he worth it?
The first question you have to ask is this: What are other payers getting paid? Philadelphia Phillies‘ first baseman Ryan Howard was awarded a $125 million extension which starts next season. Other players have signed big deals recently as well, marking an inflation of sorts which is likely playing a factor in Pujols’ negotiations with the Cards. Even if Pujols were to accept the offer, while it would be close, it would not be the biggest deal in baseball.
The fact remains. Pujols did not agree to his speculated $200 million/nine-10 year deal. I say to Mr. Pujols, what more do you want? Whatever it is, he will probably get it.