Contract negotiations were halted yesterday for St. Louis Cardinal slugger Albert Pujols after an agreement was not made over an extension. Pujols has decided to stop talking an extension because he doesn’t want a distraction for him or his team during spring training or the regular season.
When he retires, Albert Pujols could go down as the best player to ever play the game. The 3 time MVP simply wants to be paid for his performance on the field. He is currently making less than Cardinal Left Fielder Matt Holliday.
Through 10 seasons with the Cardinals Pujols has 408 home runs. If he stays on this pace he will be the youngest player to ever reach 500 home runs. He is also top 5 in the history of the game in his first 10 years in RBI’s, Run’s, and slugging pct. So why wouldn’t the Cardinals want to keep him and have him retire a Cardinal?…They do, but may not be able to afford him.
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Pujols wants to sign a 10 year deal worth upwards of 250-300 million. The problem that teams run in to is that they are scared to fork over 30 million to a 38-41 year old man who is not putting up near the numbers he did when he received the contract. The Cardinals have made it pretty clear, either they don’t want to sign a 10 year deal or they simply can’t afford to pay what Pujols wants to be paid. Now the fun starts…
There are a bevy of teams who would be stupidly brilliant enough to cough up 300 million over 10 years. Lower market teams like the Nationals and Angels could have some money stashed away to pay him. The Mets are talking about bringing up a AAA 1st baseman to play this season so NY could be a possible destination. The good thing for the Cardinals is the teams who could afford him don’t need him. The Reds have MVP Joey Votto. The Red Sox just signed Adrian Gonzalez. The Yankees, who seem to have every all-star on the American League ballot, have Mark Teixeira. The Phillies could afford Pujols but they just signed their 1st baseman Ryan Howard to a 5 year 125 Mill deal. Howard is half the hitter and fielder Pujols is and Pujols is being paid a fraction of the price. It is teams like the Phillies, Red Sox, and Yankees who are running Albert out of StL.
Although I wanted to point out those little details, there is only really one team that is “stupidly-brilliant” enough to cough up the money Pujols wants.
Catchy right?? I think so.
First off, Albert Pujols going to the Cubs would be like Reggie Miller going to the Knicks; Coach K taking the head coaching job at UNC; Favre to Minnesota…oh wait.
Here are a few reasons why this won’t happen.
1. The Cubs are the Cardinals biggest rival, they would never let the best player in the history of the game slip through their fingertips. Besides the Yankees/Red Sox, the Cubs Cardinals is the nastiest rivalry in baseball. Remember when Jim Edmonds came back to StL in blue pinstripes? And Edmonds has done half of what Pujols has/will do in his career.
2. Albert is rejoiced in StL. He is the prototypical guy a city wants for the face of their franchise. He is what Cleveland thought LeBron was. Albert has already said he wants to retire a Cardinal. If you don’t know how much this city loves The Machine, take a look at a video of the 5 minute ovation he got in his first at bat of the 2009 all-star game in StL.
3. Last but not least, you would think that if Albert is any sort of competitor at all he would hate the Cubs so much that he would never want to put on a jersey right?
4. He will be 42 when the contract would expire, are the Cubs that stupid?
Of the small number of reasons why he would never become a Cub, here are many reasons why he would.
1. The Cubs are not a new comer to gigantic deals. They locked Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, and Carlos Zambrano into multi-million dollar deals and would be ready to cough up the 300 million that Albert wants.
2. The 1 goal for the Ricketts family when they bought the Cubs was to bring a championship to Chicago. This would be the first step in showing Chicago how bad they want to win.
3. Although the Cardinals are not a “small-market” team, they are not up there with the Cubs. Pujols would be good for the city of Chicago and baseball as a whole. The face of one of the most storied franchises in all of sports, he is also very marketable…
4. Maybe the most important of all, Imagine Pujols power numbers hitting in the windy city. The Machine is in his prime for the next few years and will probably be producing some of his best numbers ever. Busch Stadium in StL is only 330 to the Left line, but 372 in the gap and 402 in center. Busch Stadium is also a pretty close aired stadium. Whereas Wrigley Field is only 368 in the gaps and 400 to center. It isn’t a big difference but couple that with the gusting wind think of how that could bolster Puljols’ numbers.
I know right now this is a far fetched idea but as the season progresses St. Louians will grow more wary and Cubs fans will grow giddy with excitement. Pujols could be the spark the Cubs need to get that first World Series in over a century. Only time will tell.
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