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If Albert does go, we'll survive


(Pretty good article from the sports editor of my local paper):

If Albert does go, we’ll survive

If Albert does go, we’ll survive Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 1:00 am | 

What an act of benevolence!

Albert Pujols has given the St. Louis Cardinals and extra day to make him obscenely wealthy.

The situation in a nutshell: Pujols is in the final year of the contract. He wants a new deal done by the beginning of spring training, or he becomes a free agent at the end of the year. Reports indicate that the slugging first baseman has already turned down a seven-year deal.

Speculation is that Pujols is demanding a 10-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $275 million - a quite nice neighborhood.

My reaction: It's been a heckuva run Albert, hope you enjoy playing for the Yankees.

Before you take that step, you may talk to your new teammate Lance Berkman about playing in New York. Apparently, it's not for everyone.

Right now, Pujols is generally regarded as the best player in baseball. Right now, $27.5 million per year seems reasonable - at least in terms of the insanity that is Major League Baseball.

On the other hand, Pujols, who has had chronic elbow problems the past few years, is 31 years old. At the end of that contract he'll be 41. The next couple years should be the most productive of Pujols' career. Unless he is an anomaly like Barry Bonds, his production will tail off, maybe markedly, after age 35.

The bottom line, which is what we are talking about, is that Pujols' will likely be vastly overpaid for half the contract.

And, let's look at the numbers.

At $27.5 million, Pujols will cash a check for $528,846.15 every week.

I'm sure he's got a hefty appetite, but that will buy a lot of groceries.

If you're interested, that $27.5 million contract breaks down to $169,753.08 per game.

The reality of that is staggering. Consider for a moment the plight of a person who earns a post-graduate degree and enters the workforce at age 26. Let's say that person makes $100,000 per year for 40 years - that's a total of $4 million, roughly two months work for Pujols.

In the short term, it seems like the Cardinals have to meet Pujols' demands. A player of Pujols' caliber can lift a team from being contenders, to being champions. However, tying up that kind of money for 10 years will hamper the team's ability to sign Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Colby Rasmus in the next few years.

This isn't basketball where a single superstar can put a team on his/her back.

If the Cardinals let Pujols walk, it won't be a popular move.

Baseball and St. Louis have survived this situation before - Enos Slaughter, Ken Boyer, Curt Flood, Steve Carlton, Dan Haren and others were all traded.

St. Louis fans have heaped adulation on Pujols for years. The Cardinals have already made him fabulously wealthy.

I'm certainly not in his position, but at some point, after say $10-11 million a year, doesn't the number of millions really become irrelevant? At some point, after say $10-11 million a year, doesn't this become a matter of greed and ego?

If Pujols goes, I won't lose any sleep over it.

If Pujols sticks by his demands and the Cardinals meet them, I'll watch the team, but I will have lost some respect for the man. I'm sure Pujols won't lose any sleep over that.


Entry #163


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