Tick… tick… tick… In just a few short hours, Albert Pujols’ self-imposed deadline to reach a new long-term contract with the St. Louis Cardinals will expire, and with it, the man that many see as the game’s best player will put off talks until just after the World Series. In numerous reports, word has been that Pujols and his agent Dan Lozano, have been seeking an “A-Rod-type” deal – 10-years, and in excess of $200 million. The problem? It’s not just the large sum attached to the contract, but really, the number of years in the deal.
Pujols will be 31 right about the time the season starts. Doing the math, it doesn’t take long to see what the concern would be for the Cardinals: Reach a deal for the upcoming season and Pujols would be 42 by the time a 10-year deal would be done.
But, an 8-year deal has been reported as being talked about, albeit it seems that getting a deal done is becoming more remote.
Here’s why “8” makes more sense than “10”… at least from a comparative point of view.
If you look at lucrative deals for first baseman you hone in on two players: Mark Teixeira and Ryan Howard. Here’s why.
Teixeira is currently is the highest paid 1B by total contract amount – the 8-year, $180 million deal reached between Tex and the Yankees in the 2008 off-season.
Howard has the highest average annual value (AAV) currently for any first baseman. He reached a 5-year, $125 million deal last year that sees an average of $25 million annually.
So, put the two together and what do you get? An 8-year, $200 million offering to Pujols. That deal would have Pujols as the second highest paid player by total dollars behind only Alex Rodriguez.
To add, there’s little doubting that any such deal could be a base. You could put in a ninth – even tenth year – if the Cardinals have the smarts and Pujols is willing to except them as vesting options based on performance. After all, maybe Pujols could still be relevant as the player we now know him in his early 40s, but it’s a stretch.
Finally, no one should hold out hope that Pujols has landed a deal this morning. Too many reports say otherwise. Hope is a good thing, so Cardinals fan, stick to it. If he does wind up going to free agency, where might he land? My guess is the Cubs or Giants.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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