The best player in baseball, Albert Pujols, is at odds with his employer, the St. Louis Cardinals, over the next seven to 10 years of his life. Or at least he seems to be. While no one in the media appears to have all the facts, that Pujols has not reached an agreement with the Cardinals by now suggests there is trouble.
Maybe Albert Pujols is not the man we thought he was. Now if the Cardinals’ recent offer was seven years, say, $150 million, then Pujols has a case. But if the offer was close to $200 million, then Pujols is not the man we thought he was.
He’s pocketed more than $100 million dollars so far in his career. It’s safe to say that another $200 million would be sufficient to adequately fund his foundation beyond his lifetime, and take care of multiple generations of Pujolses. Earning $300 million in baseball salary by age 38 is good money.
Now is Pujols worthy of being the highest paid player in baseball? Yes. And I know that his agent is likely a Scott Boras wannabe and the players union is probably screaming in his ear to establish a new contract record. And maybe — although doubtful — the Cardinals can afford that.
Then how are the Cardinals going to afford any teammates for Pujols? Ace Adam Wainwright will need to be paid in a few years. Yadier Molina must be paid at some point. Matt Holliday’s contract has another six years to go. Would it be prudent on the Cardinals’ part to commit 20-25% of their payroll to one player for the next 7-10 years?
Sure the line of suitors would be long should Pujols reach free agency in November. The Mets, Cubs and Angels — to name a few — would be willing and able to meet the superstar’s demands.
So, the choice is Albert’s. Become the highest paid player of all-time and spend the next several seasons playing first base for the Mets or Angels or Cubs. Or he can settle for $200 million and cement his legacy in St. Louis as the best the franchise has ever had to offer, a legacy that includes Stan Musial, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson.
We’ll soon find out if King Albert is the kind of man we always perceived him to be.