Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Will the Cardinals Sign Pujols in the Next Week?

Albert Pujols will report to spring training on February 16th and if he has not signed a contract extension with the Cardinals by then, he has pledged to stop negotiations until he becomes a free agent after the season.  As many of you know, Pujols is not your typical potential free agent.  He is the best player in the game today and will most likely go down as one of the best to ever play it.  In ten big league seasons, Pujols has a slash line of  .331/.426/.624 (AVG/OBP/SLG), 408 home runs, 1230 RBI, and 1900 hits.  He has never batted below .300, never hit below 30 home runs and never driven in fewer than 100 runs.  He has won three MVP awards (and never finished outside the top ten in MVP voting during his ten years), the 2001 Rookie of the Year award, two Gold Glove awards and six Silver Sluggers.  Obviously not the kind of player you just let walk out of town.

The funny thing is, the Cardinals have yet to give Pujols a concrete contract offer.  Clearly, that means that the Cards and Pujols are nowhere close in their contract negotiations.  Pujols is said to be looking for a contract similar to Alex Rodriguez's massive contract worth 10 years, $275 million.  According to Yahoo Sports, hardballtimes.com valed Pujols as high as $275 million over 10 years, fangraphs.com valued him at $267 million over 10 years, and sabernomics.com valued him at $350 million over eight years (taking into account increases in player salaries and league revenue).  That is a ton of money and the Cardinals might not be willing to go that high. However, if they don't, another team will.

If the Cardinals lose Pujols, they won't only lose the best player on the planet, but the centerpiece of their organization.  It would be a devastating blow to one of the most loyal fan bases in all of baseball.  However, if he does end up leaving, let's hope the Cubs can steal him from their arch-rivals and end 103 years of futility (yes, I realize how unlikely that is).

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