Monday, January 31, 2011

Albert Pujols...oh how you tease us!

Albert Pujols isn't coming to the Cubs.

Though the drama in St. Louis has escalated, I fully believe that the only thing going on right now is posturing. We saw this just a little earlier this season with the idea that Derek Jeter might actually go somewhere else and leave the Yankees.

One thing the tends to be fairly constant in baseball is that a really good player on a relatively successful team will get resigned by that team...especially if that player is still in his prime.

The Cardinals and Pujols basically have 3 weeks to work out a deal. Considering the supposed number of casual discussions the two sides have had before they entered serious negotiations a couple weeks ago, it seems almost impossible for the Cardinals not to get Pujols to sign an extension.

The numbers are staggering. 10 years for $300 million.

This likely would cripple the Cardinals, but, unfortunately for them, this is Pujols' worth. In fact, only once in the last 6 years has Pujols' free agent value been below $30 million. The Cardinals have benefited from having easily the best player in baseball at a far below market value for 10 years. These benefits include numerous division titles, two National League pennants and and World Series championship. On top of that, they were able to afford to build a new stadium. The Cardinal owe him.

And in the end, they will pay him and Pujols, even if he gets 10 years/$30M per, will be giving the Cardinals a discount based on everything he has done for the franchise over the last 10 years.

Now I've given Pujols a lot of praise in this post, but I truly do believe that he has taken some form of performance enhancers, at the very least, during the beginning of his career. That is beside the point here.

A number of people in both the Chicago and St. Louis media are stating that they fully believe the Cubs have set themselves up to make a serious run at getting Pujols in 2012. Knowing the Cubs, they very well may be considering it.

It's a bad decision. Pujols, if he gets 9 or 10 years on a contract, will be 41 or 42 by the time that contract expires. Remember how much grief we gave the Cubs when they signed Alfonso Soriano through the age of 38? Yes, Soriano is no Pujols, but the reality of the post steroids world is that we are not going to see players at 36+ years old post an OPS of over 1.000 anymore (with a very rare exception). What this means is that Albert Pujols probably only has 3 or 4 years during the contract where he will actually be worth that $30 million.

Am I saying I don't want Pujols on the team? Of course I would, but not at the cost of one and a half times the cost of the renovations to Wrigley Field. If the Cubs have $30 million a year to spend on payroll starting next season...they have a couple of other holes that need to be filled besides first base. They'll need a third baseman. They'll probably need a center fielder (I expect Byrd to be traded this year). They'll need a second baseman. They'll need at least one starting pitcher. And depending on if Colvin pans out, they'll need a right fielder.

But this is getting beyond the point here. Pujols isn't going anywhere. What we see going on is just a typical negotiation tactic.

Rest assured, unless I'm very wrong (and I often am), Albert Pujols will be killing baby bear-cubs in a Cardinals uniform for years to come. And Cubs fans should actually hope the Cardinal do sign him. Between the Pujols contract and the Holliday contract, the Red Birds will be setting themselves up to be cash strapped for a number of years to come and make it will be much more difficult for them to add significant role players around those two superstars. That fact can only benefit the Cubs.