To Sign or Not To Sign?
November 17, 2010 6 Comments
It is no surprise that going into a contract year St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is looking to cash in after another season of remarkable consistency. It was reported by Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman earlier today that Pujols is seeking Alex Rodriguez type money to become baseball’s first real 30 million dollar man. A-Rod signed his massive 10 year $275 million contract in 2007 at the age of 32, while Pujols will be 31 when his contract runs out next season. Pujols’ extraordinary ability to perform at such a consistent level on a year-to-year basis mean it is inevitable that he gets a contract in the A-Rod range, but the team that signs him may be regretting the decision in the years to come.
In his 10 year career, Albert Pujols has never had a season in which he has hit below .300 or had fewer than 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s. You can draw parallels to Ichiro Suzuki’s consistency, who just had his 10th straight 200 hit season, except on a much more power oriented scale. The problem that the Cardinals face is that they are being forced into paying best player in baseball money for a player who most likely will not continue his reliable consistency in his late 30’s and early 40’s.
Going into the 4th year of his 10 year deal, the Yankees are already seeing the drawbacks on this type of risky deal for Alex Rodriguez. In comparison to A-Rod’s prime years, there has been a significant drop off in the power numbers. He has gone from 40 and 50 plus homers to 35, 30 and 30 home runs respectively in each of his past 3 seasons. The more alarming stat though is that in the last 3 years Rodriguez’s average has dropped from .302 to .286 and finally a very mediocre .270 in 2010.
If you don’t buy all the crap coming out of A-Rod’s mouth then these numbers could partly be attributed to his lack of those naughty performance enhancers. With that being said though, we can see that Pujols should not have to undergo this type of drop off in his numbers at least due to non-natural causes, as he has never been and I hope never will be linked to steroids.
However, if what I have just said has absolutely nothing or only partly to do with Alex Rodriguez’s recent statistics then we can most likely attribute it to age. Well, isn’t that what we always do when we see a decline in an “older” player’s numbers?
Even though it is incredibly cliché to attribute the plunge of an “older” player’s game to age, it is no doubt a very logical reason. Albert Pujols most likely won’t be seeing a drop off in his statistics anytime soon but when he starts hitting his mid 30’s there is a good chance that he won’t be worth the $30 million or whatever he ends up signing for.
The thing is, if you have a team that doesn’t mind paying the luxury tax, dishing out extra cash for undeserving players, or just flat out being cash strapped then I don’t see this as a problem. However, if your team is not the New York Yankees then the signing of someone of Pujols’ stature should strike you as a major issue.
What happens when you have a $30 million franchise player who suddenly isn’t producing the way you would hope?
This isn’t going to be a short-term problem for the team that signs Pujols, but make no mistake, this is going to be a long-term issue and the St. Louis Cardinals front office better take a long hard look in the mirror before deciding to take on Pujols for possibly 10 more years.
Do St. Louis Cardinal fans want 38-year-old Manny Ramirez production for $30 million a year?
I didn’t think so.
Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.
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