Why the St. Louis Cardinals Should NOT Resign Albert Pujols

Do You Think the Yankees Would Resign A-Rod If They Could Get a Do Over?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on April 13th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

No one is debating whether or not Albert Pujols is a great, first ballet, hall of famer. He has been great for the city of St. Louis, he’s a champion, and to date he is clear of any performance enhancing drug accusations. But if the money he’s going for after the 2011 season is as rumored, north of 300 million, that is a figure beyond what the Cardinals or any team should offer. Nothing personal Albert, but you’re not worth the risk.

To date the two biggest contracts in the history of the sport have been signed by Alex Rodriguez. No doubt the first time A-Rod was a free agent he was a better player than Pujols is now. A-Rod was younger, faster, had as much power, and was a better defender at a more premium position, shortstop, versus Pujols at first base. How did that contract work out for the Texas Rangers? A-Rod performed, but it financially handicapped the organization. They couldn’t build around him, so they dumped him to the NY Yankees, and ate ten million a year to do so.  And like the Seattle Mariners, Texas improved after he left.

Astonishingly, the Yankees eventually give A-Rod a second long term contract of ten years for 275 million. Not long after, there is the steroid admission, a hip injury requiring surgery and declining numbers.

Consequently I don’t see any fifty home run seasons in A-Rod’s future. Stolen bases? Not so much. Defense? Declining. Home run chase? Who cares? Between Texas and New York you see all the things that can potentially go wrong for a mid market team like St. Louis: Paying too much money to one player, off the field issues, declining skills due to injury and or aging.

A-Rod is the first example but far from the last. Let’s eliminate the everyday players who are clear of a performance enhancing drug connection and show me one that has produced 30 million a year numbers beyond the age of 37. Albert would be into his forties by the end of a ten year deal.

Based on the highest paid players through 2010, ask yourself are these players worth the money they were paid to their teams? Alex Rodriguez (33 m) Derrick Jeter (22.6 m) Mark Tiexera (20.6 m) Johan Santana (20.1 m) Miguel Cabrera (20 m) Carlos Betran (19.4) Ryan Howard (19 m) Carlos Lee (19 m) Alfonso Soriano (19 m) Carlos Zambrano (18.8 m) John Lackey (18.7 m) Manny Ramirez (18.6 m) Torri Hunter (18.5 m) Barry Zito (18.5 m) Maglio Ordonez (17.8 m) Todd Helton (17.7 m) Aramis Ramirez (16.7 m) A. J. Burnett (16.5 m).*

That is eighteen out of the top twenty that were debatably overpaid last season. Do you think all of these players could find a team willing to pay those figures if they were free agents again?

Think the New York Mets would like a do over on the big contracts they gave the injury prone Santana, Beltran, or even Jason Bay or Francisco Rodriquez? Generally, pre free agent numbers are better then post.

Miguel Cabrera is an exception however his off the field alcohol issues add a question mark to him. Plain and simple the odds are stacked that you’re paying for past performance and you will not get value out of a long term deal.

More logic used to justify such a salary for Pujols by analysts like ESPN’s Jon Kruk is that, “well A-Rod has a 275 million dollar contract and Albert is better then A-Rod now so, you know, Albert should get more”. If I walk into a car dealership and the sales agent says to me that the idiot before me paid ten thousand dollars over sticker price for a car that doesn’t mean I will do the same.

A team (the Yankees) that is clearly playing on a different financial field than any other cannot be used to set the market. Nor can the actions of a desperate owner, Tom Hicks of the Texas Rangers, who made a deal that set his team on a path to financial ruin.

Being from New York I am not a Boston Red Sox fan but I respect the way they do business with their players and how they created a climate where players take less money to stay there…they accomplished this by showing fiscal discipline and letting stars like Nomar Garciaparra and Mo Vaughn and Johnny Damon leave. Theo Epstein and company assess the value of a player, don’t get emotional about it and make a take it or leave it offer. Star players like David Ortiz and Jason Varitek have taken less money and or diminished roles to stay a part of Red Sox nation.

If Albert wants to be a “true” Cardinal, and spend his career with one team, let him take a little less and not break your budget. If he wants to go to the Chicago Cubs for some extra coin let him. Don’t be sucked into a bidding war and pay what will handicap you like A-Rod did with Texas.

The Cubs are not about to win even if they sign Pujols. In order for the Red Sox to break through their curse, they needed a juiced up Manny Ramirez (allegedly), David Ortiz, Curt Shilling, Pedro Martinez, Keith Foulke (who was closing like Mariano Rivera that year), Johnny Damon and the rest of the idiots. If the Cubs or anyone pay Pujols three hundred million, they will get the first laugh, but odds are you will get the last.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

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