Pujols Not Signing Contract is Good for Cardinals

Albert Pujols is arguably the greatest player to every take the diamond. He’s the only player to ever bat .300 hit 30HR and 100 RBI in each of his first ten seasons. And, after the 2011 season any team in the MLB will have the chance at him. And that’s a good thing for the Cardinals.

What will baseball's best command in the open-market?

It may not make sense on the onset that the best player in the game has a chance to leave is a good thing, but let me explain. Pujols is reportedly seeking 10 years 300 million dollars. Pujols will be 32 when the contract would take effect. 30 million per year would be the highest in MLB history, beating Alex Rodriquez 10 year 27.5 mil per year.

Based on this contract it may be fair to say Pujols deserves more, he’s out performed even A-rod. What isn’t taken into account is Rodriguez’s market value. A-rod was offered that price by the Yankees. There was no sign that any other team was willing to go anywhere near that high. So why should STL pay for the Yankee’s atrocious spending?

Think the Yankee’s dont over-spend? The top four highest-paid players in the MLB are Yankees. Yet if you ask anyone who the top four players in baseball are, your answers aren’t A-rod, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, and Mark Tiexiera. In fact, it’s very likely none of those players make your top four. Exactly why the Yankees spending habits shouldn’t determine market value.

But why is the Cardinals not paying Yankees market value a good thing? Well, first and probably least importantly, take a look at players playing in contract years. There typically is a stark increase in productivity in any sport. It’s tough for Pujols to go up on .312 42HR 115RBI, but barring injury STL should be guaranteed another great year out of him.

Odds are significant that general manager John Mozeliak's offer may drop when Pujols hits free agency

When Pujols does hit the free market, it will be a bidding war. Outside of Yankee spending, who is the highest paid player in the MLB? Johan Santana at 20mil/yr. No team has EVER in the HISTORY of the game paid more than 20 million for ANY player. Odds are that number won’t increase by 33%, even for Pujols.

Hitters show a strong drop-off after age 36. If STL or any team agrees to a 10 year deal, it’s likely half of that deal will be with Pujols putting up numbers less than that got him the deal in the first place. STL isn’t budging on anything more than eight years, and frankly they shouldn’t.

Losing Pujols would be a PR nightmare for St. Louis. But there is one thing Cardinal fans love more than Pujols. And that’s the Cardinals. If Pujols signs a 10 year deal for 30 million dollars per year it’s going to be near-impossible to re-sign former Cy Young Chris Carpenter, and Cy Young runner up Adam Wainwright.

St. Louis is one of the few "baseball first" cities

Baseball is a team game. Unlike in basketball, you can’t command your best player to get so many at bats. Lebron James can take 40 shots per game if the team feels it’s in their best interest. The Colts can make Peyton Manning throw the ball 50 times a game if need be. But Pujols can only bat as many times as the players around him. This is even more of a reason not to grossly over-spend for an MLB all-star, even Pujols.

If I’m STL, I offer 7 years 28 million. He’d be the highest paid player in MLB history. He’d be in the city he says he wants to retire in. He’d be with a team that year in and year out is a World Series candidate. In one of the few cities where baseball comes first, and fans are crazy about it. What’s the price for Pujols? As high as a team can go without significantly hindering their future.  10 years 300 million is significantly hindering for the Cardinals.

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