Thank You Albert Pujols

Ironically enough, it would seem as though the St. Louis Cardinals have a guardian angel watching over them.

In a coup that would have made William of Orange proud, the Los Angeles Angels residing in Anaheim snatched Albert Pujols for a cool $254 million. The 31-year-old spurned not only his hometown Cardinals but also the Miami Marlins who had reportedly offered him a tax-free $275 million (although the Marlins have denied this figure). The coup was a shock to the baseball world and most importantly the Cardinal fan base that have had the pleasure of watching one of the most consistent players in MLB history for the past decade. At this point, it would make sense for Cardinal fans to feel dejected or betrayed.

They shouldn’t. Instead, they should be thanking Albert Pujols.

Albert Pujols has done more than his fair share for the St. Louis franchise and with his departure to the Angels in this Christmas season, he is just the gift that keeps on giving for the Cardinals.

It isn’t news to anyone that Albert Pujols is already on the decline. He is coming off the worst season of his MLB career, posting a line of .299/.366/.906 to go along with a 5.4 bWAR, also the worst of his career. The last two seasons have seen his numbers drop significantly across the board. Hardly a good sign for a power hitter on the wrong side of 30.

Speaking of 30, the Angels should have considered talking to Donald Trump before they went ahead and signed Pujols. No one definitively knows Fat Albert’s age and even though his official birth date, January 16, 1980, tells us that he is 31 years of age, there is much speculation that Albert could be at least a couple of years older. As we know of course, those Dominican’s can be about as honest with their ages as Lindsay Lohan in a jewellery store.

Pujols’ undetermined age and declining numbers don’t necessarily mean that he will steadily decline year after year. However, I bet the guys in Vegas aren’t giving him the best odds to stay consistent into his mid 30’s. Assuming that he will be less than spectacular for the majority of his future time in an Angel’s uniform is a pretty easy thing to do given the evidence.

Related: To Sign or Not To Sign?

$254 million is a lot of money over 10 years. $25.4 million a year in fact. $25.4 million doesn’t seem like too much when your guy is mashing. $25.4 million seems like a lot more when the only mashing your superstar is doing is with the Idaho potatoes in his kitchen.

$100 million contracts rarely work out. The Angels have possibly the worst contract in baseball on their roster. They are still paying Vernon Wells for 3 more years at over $20 million per season (minus the $5 million eaten up by the Blue Jays). Now they have added almost another $20 million with the acquisition of C.J. Wilson.

And here I was thinking the Miami Marlins were the next franchise in line to fill the shoes of the New York Mets.

The only precedent the Angels, Cardinals and Marlins were able to look back and gather information upon is Alex Rodriguez’s most recent 10 year $275 million soon-to-be debacle of a contract. A-Rod is on the serious decline but, not surprisingly, that didn’t deter any of Pujols’ potential suitors. Rodriguez’s 3.6, 3.2 and especially ugly 2.7 bWAR in his last 3 respective seasons are a clear indication of age and injuries getting the best of him. That, and steroids.

Superstars are mortals. Albert Pujols will inevitably decline. It may not be this season, or next season, or the next but it will happen. It will happen soon enough to overshadow virtually any beneficial production that Pujols would have provided the Cardinals with. Unless a World Series is in the not too distant future for Pujols and the Angles, this contract will be a disaster.

The Cardinals got lucky.

They are fortunate to have avoided a contract that would no doubt have had their hands tied in a nice sheepshank for what would have felt like an eternity. The split wasn’t mutual but the St. Louis Cardinals now have a fresh start on the heels of losing their Hall of Fame manager and star first baseman.

Sometimes a fresh start is exactly what a franchise needs.

Cardinal’s GM John Mozeliak better make sure he has Albert Pujol’s new address. He ought to send him a Christmas card with a big thank you and maybe a few x’s and o’s.

While he’s at it, he might as well put one in the mail for Jerri Dipoto too.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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15 Responses to Thank You Albert Pujols

  1. Bheise says:

    The Cardinals got off so lucky with this. Not signing Pujols to a franchise crippling mega deal will pay off in the end for them. The Angels are sure to get a few solid years out of him combined at first and DH, but one has to assume the tail end of that contract is going to be pretty awful and yet at the same time, hilarious to watch unfold.

  2. ASpotOfRedInCubland says:

    I think many baseball fans in general and Cardinal fans in particular would agree with you 100%. I heard a caller on an MLB talk show say something to the effect of it being a sad day, but that it wasn’t a bad day. The feeling of betrayal is there simply because Albert professed his desire to stay so often that you wanted to believe it was important to him to retire a redbird. But, as we learn so often in this day and age, pro sports is a business, and there is very little loyalty if the money isn’t there to back it up.

    Great post!

  3. 2r2d says:

    For the next 3 to 5 seasons I don’t think the Cardinals will feel they got off lucky. I think when it comes to a player like Albert Pujols no team would feel lucky about not signing him no matter how long the contract.

  4. saberfan says:

    Great article. I think the contract should work out well for the first five or six seasons. After that they will start to lose value but with Pujols it’s worth. I may or may not be in the minority but I think he really is 31.

  5. Completely agree. The Cards completely won. Albert’s already has started to decline, so why give him 10 more years and a ton of money?

  6. joe says:

    2R2D lets add another 5 or even 10 years to the contract then! Crazy comments.

  7. 2r2d says:

    I am not saying the contract length isn’t crazy. I am just saying that when it comes to a player like Pujols the team really should try and keep him. And from what I read it didn’t sound like they really wanted to in the beginning. And if last season is being called his decline I really don’t think the Angels have to worry to much. I would rather have Pujols on my team then A-Rod.

  8. From a dollars for performance perspective, I agree with you. I do think Albert would have had value to the Cards beyond his on field performance.

    Angels will eventually regret the contract. Hopefully they get lucky and or is only the last 3 or 4 years

  9. Kelsey says:

    Very nice piece. I would have to say that I agree with the sentiment that the Cardinals, as an organization, got off better in the end by not singing Pujols with a contract of the magnitude he was asking for. As a company, the Cardinals would have been paying a player who, by the end of his 10-year contract, would be in his early 40s and certainly not be able to play to the standards he is known for. That is not something that is practical or money-efficient. That being said, as a life-long Carindals fan myself, team loyalty in St. Louis is something that is taken to heart and, especially after such an epic post-season, it’s difficult to understand why he would leave such a great team, if not for just the money. I really don’t see how any one person could need/want/ask for that much money. Good article, though! If you want to check it out again, the piece that I wrote is also on my blog:

  10. I guess what we have to ask here is… what is a worthwhile return on Anaheim’s investment?

    Is it just ticket sales and revenue?

    Or is it titles?

    And how many?

    Is two worth it? Is less not?

    Inquiring minds want to know, Arte.

    After all, it’s your ass.

    Enjoy the honeymoon.

  11. Bobby Charts says:

    Agree! In 4 years Albert might be washed up and the Catss will be so glad he left! Good piece Chris!

  12. Jason says:

    Well written piece, Chris. I agree with you that the Cards may have dodged a major bullet here. I’ve heard rumblings that the Cards brass was secretly hoping Albert would spurn them for another suitor…that way Mozeliak and his team could save face with the public while not being handcuffed to a bad contract in 5-7 years. Who knows if this is really true, but it’s easy to see how Arte Moreno could sweep in and nab Pujols if the Cardinals’ negotiating strategy alienated the slugger.

    I agree with the commenter above: it was a sad day, but not necessarily a bad day, for the Cardinals.

  13. paul agosti says:

    I agree, but keep in mind that Moreno was looking for more than just a hitter-he was looking for a face for the franchise. Keep in mind that the Angels have always been in the Dodgers’ shadow out here in SoCal. Signing Pujols makes the Angels the top team in the area, especially given the Dodgers’ recent troubles. Remember that there’s a 10 year personal service deal waiting for Pujols at the end of his playing days. Moreno is betting that the good public relations effects created by the signing will make the Angels the dominant sports franchise out here for years to come. I think the deal is in everyone’s best interests, really. The Cardinals have an opportunity for growth, and the Angels get a marquee name. Life goes on. . .

  14. fangirlintraining's mom says:

    Very thoughtful and full of insight. The game isn’t what it used to be. Still learning lots from fangirlintraing…

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