FanDuel - WFBC

December 08, 2011

Pujols Going to Angels for 10 Years, $250 Million: St. Louis Cardinals free agent slugger Albert Pujols has agreed to a 10-year contract for $250 million with the Los Angeles Angels, multiple media outlets reported Thursday morning. The deal reportedly includes a no-trade clause and requires Pujols to pass a physical before being finalized.

posted by DrJohnEvans to baseball at 10:13 AM - 51 comments

10 years?! Crazy.

posted by NoMich at 10:24 AM on December 08

That's going to be one well-compensated 42-year-old DH in 2022.

As good as Pujols is, and as much as I don't want to see him in the AL West, I'd be worried if the Rangers had signed this contract. History hasn't been kind to teams that take a quarter-billion out of their future payroll and aren't the Yankees.

posted by rcade at 10:26 AM on December 08

We all knew he was going to get a mammoth contract. But that's big. And long.

posted by rocketman at 10:28 AM on December 08

Emotional power rankings as of right now:

Happy: The Angels

Happier: Albert Pujols

Happiest: Prince Fielder

posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:30 AM on December 08

I'm more upset that he won't be a lifelong Cardinal than I am about losing his production. This sucks.

posted by mbd1 at 10:37 AM on December 08

Well, this Cincinnati Reds fan wishes him good riddance. Every pitcher in the Reds organization just breathed a huge sigh of relief.

posted by tahoemoj at 10:41 AM on December 08

Go ANGELS. They have the money and as long as someone is going to hand it out as a fan I am kinda glad its them. He is a hell of a player.

posted by Atheist at 10:57 AM on December 08

10 years?! Crazy

Guess Angels figure they have a shot during the first 4 or 5 years of the contract. History has proven (and is currently proving) these long term deals end up looking extremely bad after 5 or 6 years in the best cases.

Sad to see him leaving St.Louis as I thought he might be the last of a dying breed of athletes who realized the value of loyalty to one's legacy.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:00 AM on December 08

Hmm - Dan Lozano actually got the deal done. Didn't know that Pujols had decided to stay with Lozano. Thought there might be a bit of a disconnect there in regard to fundamental guiding life principles.

As the Doctor mentioned above, Boras is surely sharpening his Prince Fielder battle sword now that this deal has happened in his own backyard. And has been brought home to roost by a guy of Lozano's caliber.

I think Lozano has nabbed a player or two from Boras in the past.

posted by beaverboard at 11:07 AM on December 08

This is good news for my Vernon Wells collection, though. 3-4 World Series titles in the next five years, right?

Seriously, as a Cardinals fan I'm glad someone else took him. A five-year deal at $25M per? Sure, I'm in. Hamstringing the team any longer than that? I'm out.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:09 AM on December 08

Didn't know that Pujols had decided to stay with Lozano. Thought there might be a bit of a disconnect there in regard to fundamental guiding life principles.

Pujols defended Lozano against the recent allegations.

posted by rcade at 11:23 AM on December 08

Yeah, tough to know how to feel if you're a Cards fan. Sucks for the next few years, but unless the Angels have struck oil in those rocks in the outfield, this seems to be a bad idea. Someone was going to pay this much; better it not be you.

posted by yerfatma at 11:24 AM on December 08

I think Lozano has nabbed a player or two from Boras in the past

I hear Lozano has a good bonus structure

posted by cixelsyd at 11:50 AM on December 08

Word also coming down the wire that LAAoA have also agreed to a 5-year $77.5 MM deal with C.J. Wilson. They've gotta be approaching Boston now in terms of payroll.

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:15 PM on December 08

I don't claim to know much about the ins and out of baseball, but doesn't the DH difference make a long term deal for a hitting powerhouse like Pujols pretty much an American League exclusive. How can a guy like this possibly be worth as much to a National League team? Obviously for the Cards 5 years at $25 mil each makes more sense but the Angels can justify a 10 year deal much easier and with inflation of baseball salaries, $25 mil may seem like a bargain in 7 years for a hitting powerhouse like Pujols. Not to mention what he will do for attendance as he approaches major milestone records in those later years of the contract if he pans out based on his current pace. Big risks for big rewards. The Angels can afford to take them.

posted by Atheist at 12:27 PM on December 08

Glad to see him out of the NL Central. I don't feel to sorry for the Cards as they can still keep warm with those WS memories.

posted by drezdn at 12:29 PM on December 08

Ufez Jones: Word also coming down the wire that LAAoA have also agreed to a 5-year $77.5 MM deal with C.J. Wilson. They've gotta be approaching Boston now in terms of payroll.
They already were, and Boston wasn't the highest payroll team last year, or the second highest. The Pujols deal probably pushes them past the Sox, depending on how the rest of the winter shakes out.

posted by hincandenza at 12:34 PM on December 08

Jonah Keri on Pujols' (and the Angels') prospects.

posted by yerfatma at 12:37 PM on December 08

As a Cards fan, definitely sad to see him go. I would have been willing for the team (easy, as it's not my money) to overpay slightly for the legacy of having an all-time great in one uniform for the whole of his career. Stan Musial and all that. But not at 10 years and $250/260MM. (Here's hoping the Cardinals invest some of that Pujols money in a shortstop and center fielder and spend big in the draft.) I have no issue with Pujols getting paid; good for him. And thanks for 11 pretty amazing seasons. He will still go into the HoF as a Cardinal, but will never have the admiration of the city that Musial, Gibson, and guys like that have to this day.

Jeter aside, I think the era of sure-fire future Hall of Famers playing with one team for their entire careers is largely over.

Emotional power rankings as of right now:

Happy: The Angels

Happier: Albert Pujols

Happiest: Prince Fielder

I have not really been following it, but who is in the market for Fielder? The Angels are obviously out, as are fellow big spenders Boston and NY. Marlins have moved on as well, it seems, and there was a credible suggestion that paying big money to Pujols was more of a marketing move to solidify a Latin American fan base (local and international) for the team. Something tells me Theo is too smart to give a guy with that profile Pujols years and money, particularly for a team with a recent history of bad long-term contracts.

posted by holden at 12:48 PM on December 08

Jonah Keri on Pujols' (and the Angels') prospects

Quite interesting.

Have to assume the owners entering into these big multi-year contracts have done a similar analysis. Does the financial impact to a team spike that much after one of these signings to make it worthwhile? Would seem a risky proposition based on how quickly the lustre can disappear (ARod, Crawford, Werth, etc).

posted by cixelsyd at 01:10 PM on December 08

This adds insult to injury for Astros fans.

posted by cl at 01:11 PM on December 08

Actually, you're right, holden. I thought this deal would set a pretty high bar for Fielder, but it's funny how his market seems to have shriveled up over the past few hours.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:32 PM on December 08

I thought he might be the last of a dying breed of athletes who realized the value of loyalty to one's legacy

Loyalty? Where was the loyalty from the Cardinals' organization when instead of putting together a contract for Pujols, they went ahead and re-signed Matt Holliday to a 7 year $120 million dollar contract?

posted by BornIcon at 01:41 PM on December 08

That's a false dilemma. What does one have to do with the other?

posted by yerfatma at 01:53 PM on December 08

I'm sad as a bit of a baseball purist to see Pujols go to the highest bidder. He traded 50 years of adulation for the guaranteed contract, and I imagined him being the kind of person who would like that lifelong community stability. Of course, if someone waved $50 million under my nose, I might do the same as he just did.

I appreciate @holden's perspective on fandom. I suspect most Mets fans felt the same way about losing Reyes the other day: yes, we wanted the guy, but he got how much to leave? Oh, okay, then.

posted by werty at 01:54 PM on December 08

Where was the loyalty from the Cardinals' organization when instead of putting together a contract for Pujols, they went ahead and re-signed Matt Holliday to a 7 year $120 million dollar contract?

They signed Holliday two years ago. Do you honestly think Pujols would have signed a deal two years before he became a free agent?

posted by rcade at 02:03 PM on December 08

I think the era of sure-fire future Hall of Famers playing with one team for their entire careers is largely over.

Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki are both signed with their teams through 2020.

posted by drezdn at 02:06 PM on December 08

I really believed he was a life long Cardinal. Also, just to reiterate, 10 Years?

posted by Joey Michaels at 02:09 PM on December 08

Do you honestly think Pujols would have signed a deal two years before he became a free agent?

If the contract was a good one, why not? A-Rod opted out of his 10 year contract he signed with the Rangers in 2001 to sign a 10 year contract with the Yankees in 2007 so anything's possible.

posted by BornIcon at 02:18 PM on December 08

They signed Holliday two years ago. Do you honestly think Pujols would have signed a deal two years before he became a free agent?

It might have factored into what kind of hometown discount he was willing to give the Cards. They dragged out these contract talks forever, and were more than willing to let him get to free agency.

posted by bperk at 02:31 PM on December 08

They dragged out these contract talks forever, and were more than willing to let him get to free agency.

Excatly my point! Pujols spent 10 years with the Cardinals, is a 3-time MVP and won 2 World Series to St. Louis but they were more than willing to let him test the waters of free agency and Pujols' loyalty is called into question?! Really?!

posted by BornIcon at 02:36 PM on December 08

Well, I'll be cheering for an Angels-Cards WS in the years to come, that's for darn sure. Too bad to see him go, but the Cardinals could do some great things with the money they were going to spend on him. I'll be rooting for him the rest of his career for what he did in St. Louis.

posted by boredom_08 at 02:43 PM on December 08

If anything, the Holliday deal was viewed widely at the time as being done in part to show Albert the organization's commitment to winning. The Cardinals did not fail to re-sign Albert because of the money locked up with Holliday. They failed to re-sign him because they are a small-market team (albeit with the revenues and payroll of medium-largish market) and he got an offer that was above the highest they were willing to go. I do not think anyone should be calling any party's loyalty into question here; this is just pure economics. The Cardinals showed they were willing to go above what they initially thought was fiscally responsible (when bumping up their offer to $220MM over 10) and were happy to let Pujols walk for a better deal rather than exceed what they thought was appropriate. Good on them for holding the line and good on Pujols for getting the most money he could.

posted by holden at 02:56 PM on December 08

If the contract was a good one, why not?

Because Pujols had never tested the free agent market before and his seven-year, $100 million contract extension in 2004 turned out to be a ridiculously cheap deal for the Cardinals.

This was his one shot at a free agent jackpot in his prime.

posted by rcade at 03:21 PM on December 08

If the contract was a good one, why not?

They dragged out these contract talks forever, and were more than willing to let him get to free agency.

Right. How can an offer be a "good one" when you're within a couple of years of free agency and the best hitter in baseball? Even if they'd offered 10 years and $250 million, he and his agent are going to assume that's the new starting point for a free agent deal that will be worth even more.

How did the Cardinals drag the negotiations out? They made a kind of crappy offer, but it's unlikely he would have passed up a chance at free agency when there was less than a year left on his existing deal.

Loyalty is a nice argument for bars and sites like this one, but the reality is you try to maximize what you get in contract negotiations. Teams have all the leverage for the first few years, players spend that time, often their prime, playing for 50 cents on the dollar, so when they get near free agency, they finally have leverage. While there are some superstar-level players who are grounded enough to step back and say, "What's an additional 10 million on top of 100 million", we love these guys because they spend every day trying to be the best at their job. Can't hold it against them if they want to be paid for that effort.

As fans we see it as a snub to us or to "our" city, but the relationship is usually just between player and employer. And I'd be damned before I cut my employer an even break (at least back when I worked for someone else).

posted by yerfatma at 03:22 PM on December 08

"but will never have the admiration"

Sour grapes.

posted by aerotive at 03:27 PM on December 08

But it's a business blahblahblah. Yeah, I think most fans over 10 get that. It's the 'it's not about the money' and 'I'm praying over the decision' comments that get to me.

And for the love of all that's holy can people stop with the 'I can't blame him for doing what's right for his family' nonsense? We're not talking about a guy leaving walmart to be a paralegal. The world will end before anyone related to Pujols can spend all that money.

posted by justgary at 04:00 PM on December 08

"but will never have the admiration"

Sour grapes.

How is that sour grapes? Of course cities and fan bases are going to have the greatest love for those who gave their careers to those cities/teams -- there is a familiarity and an opportunity for that admiration to grow due to longevity. I think Albert will still be in the pantheon of St. Louis greats, but he probably will be ranked behind first Musial, then guys like Ozzie Smith, Bob Gibson, etc. It is not arbitrary or sour grapes to say that "We like Hall of Famer A more than Hall of Famer B because he played for the team for 20 years v. 10."

posted by holden at 04:44 PM on December 08

Jeter aside, I think the era of sure-fire future Hall of Famers playing with one team for their entire careers is largely over.

Chipper Jones should get some recognition here, too.

Besides, they said the same thing back in 1980 when Winfield got his huge contract with the Yankees, and since then there has been Jeter, Rivera, Biggio, Bagwell (regardless of what the writers think), Ripken, Brett and Schmidt (off the top of my head) who have finished their illustrious careers with the same team they entered the league.

He traded 50 years of adulation for the guaranteed contract, and I imagined him being the kind of person who would like that lifelong community stability.

Maybe he traded the adulation from St. Louis fans for the adulation from Anaheim fans. That's also assuming that St. Louis fans (who always like to tell people they are the best in baseball) will turn on Pujols. He's given them 11 years of fantastic legendary baseball, and helped them win 2 World Series in that time. If they're willing to forget that and just boo him, well then I don't know what to say.

Halladay got traded from my favourite team because he stated he wanted to win. That should be a slap in the face for Jays fans, but it wasn't. We knew how great he was as a Blue Jay, and we still gave him a long standing ovation when he returned.

posted by grum@work at 04:53 PM on December 08

Going against the seemingly majority opinion here, I believe the contract is a good one. 10 years is a long time for a 31-year-old, but Pujols has demonstrated good defensive ability, 1st base is not a demanding position, and when his fielding skills begin to decline, there's always the DH position. Assuming he keeps himself in decent shape, the only factors to worry about are injuries and eyesight. Even the possible deterioration of his eyes is less a worry in this day and age. Laser surgery can correct the natural effects of aging on the flexibility of the cornea, and can be used safely. Jim Rice has said that if laser surgery had been available in the latter years of his career, he would have been able to play at a high level for several years longer.

As for loyalty to a city, unless you have a lot going for you away from the ball field (local endorsements, businesses, etc.), you are wise to take the money and run. Even the best and most admired athletes can experience a sudden "fan hatred" should they do or say the wrong thing, or should their performance be less than the fans expect. Loyalty and $1.50 buys you a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee.

posted by Howard_T at 05:06 PM on December 08

the only factors to worry about are injuries

Which he's suffered quite a bit lately. Just a glance at his statistics show's he's been in decline for 3-4 years.

He might have a monster season or two left, but I have no doubt his best seasons are behind him. I don't see anyway this will be a good contract, at least statistically. You only have to look at the Yankees and Arod to see what a disaster this type of contract can be, and the Angels don't have Yankee money.

unless you have a lot going for you away from the ball field (local endorsements, businesses, etc.)

I have no idea what endorsements Pujols had in St. Louis, but he was definitely the face of St. Louis in a way he has very little chance of being in california.

Fans are fickle, but I'd bet St. Louis fans would be far easier on a declining Pujols than fans in anaheim will be.

posted by justgary at 05:28 PM on December 08

in a way he has very little chance of being in california

Who's in front of him? Jered Weaver? If you mean there are more stars in LA, there are also more opportunities.

10 years is a long time for a 31-year-old

Assuming that's actually his age, he'll be 32 pretty soon. Can't remember too many good 42-year old DHs (Harold Baines?), but then not too many guys have his career arc either.

posted by yerfatma at 05:31 PM on December 08

Who's in front of him? Jered Weaver?

He was signed by the cardinals, was an all-star for 9 seasons, MVP for 3, and won two WS rings.

It has nothing to do with who's in front of him, but what is behind him.

But to be clearer, I wasn't talking short term. He certainly could own the town right now, but longer term. He had cemented his legacy in St. Louis. A large part of that is gone now, and there's not guarantee he'll ever have that in anaheim.

Not that he really cares, obviously.

posted by justgary at 06:27 PM on December 08

It makes a certain amount of sense. The AL does extend his career. No way you give him ten years in the NL.

But I think that gary is right - he took the money and the longevity - and the cost is going to be that adoration. St. Louis would have let him decline with grace and even if he declined sharply after a couple, he would be in the Jeter zone, and St. Louis may have to overpay a similar contract.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:22 PM on December 08

St. Louis would have let him decline with grace and even if he declined sharply after a couple, he would be in the Jeter zone, and St. Louis may have to overpay a similar contract.

St. Louis doesn't have Yankee money, so they could not afford to overpay players to put them in the Jeter zone. Just because the fans adored him for his contributions to the Cards, it doesn't follow that the owners have the same loyalty. If I recall correctly, the Yankees have in the past paid Jeter far more than any other club would have.

posted by bperk at 08:19 PM on December 08

Assuming that's actually his age, he'll be 32 pretty soon. Can't remember too many good 42-year old DHs (Harold Baines?), but then not too many guys have his career arc either.

Here's the top 10 most similar players to Albert Pujols through his age 31 season:

Similar Batters through 31
(similarity score out of 1000), * indicates HOF player

Jimmie Foxx    (851) *

Ken Griffey (848)
Frank Robinson (845) *
Hank Aaron (843) *
Lou Gehrig (827) *
Mickey Mantle (810) *
Mel Ott (796) *
Juan Gonzalez (773)
Willie Mays (765) *
Manny Ramirez (757)

That is some select company. 7 HOF players, plus 1st-ballot probable Ken Griffey Jr. (Ramirez would be a 1st-ballot probable too, except for the suspension issue hanging over him.)

So how did these players do for their 32 and after seasons?

Their combined average results are:

7 seasons (average per season)
844 games (120)
497 runs (70)
825 hits (116)
141 doubles (20)
14 triples (2)
170 hr (24)
527 rbi (75)
OPS+ 144

Oh, and here's the list of 40+ year old DH/1B who played at least 100 games (and 80 at 1B/DH).

                                           

Rk Player OPS+ G Year Age Tm
1 Edgar Martinez 141 145 2003 40 SEA
2 Brian Downing 138 107 1992 41 TEX
3 Dave Winfield 137 156 1992 40 TOR
4 Harold Baines 135 135 1999 40 TOT
5 Brian Downing 132 123 1991 40 TEX
6 Mickey Vernon 124 119 1958 40 CLE
7 Pete Rose 119 107 1981 40 PHI
8 Reggie Jackson 116 132 1986 40 CAL
9 Rafael Palmeiro 108 110 2005 40 BAL
10 Carl Yastrzemski 106 119 1983 43 BOS
11 Paul Molitor 104 135 1997 40 MIN
12 Pete Rose 99 119 1985 44 CIN
13 Willie McCovey 97 108 1978 40 SFG
14 Hank Aaron 95 137 1975 41 MIL
15 George Brett 94 145 1993 40 KCR
16 Edgar Martinez 92 141 2004 41 SEA
17 Andres Galarraga 92 104 2002 41 MON
18 Pete Rose 90 162 1982 41 PHI
19 Jake Daubert 88 102 1924 40 CIN
20 Eddie Murray 87 152 1996 40 TOT
21 Paul Molitor 86 126 1998 41 MIN
22 Dave Parker 81 132 1991 40 TOT

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/8/2011.

posted by grum@work at 08:24 PM on December 08

If I recall correctly, the Yankees have in the past paid Jeter far more than any other club would have.

To be fair, I don't think it's ever been revealed that any other team even APPROACHED Jeter when he was available, and if they did, I've never heard of any real proof about contract offers.

posted by grum@work at 08:26 PM on December 08

St. Louis doesn't have Yankee money, so they could not afford to overpay players to put them in the Jeter zone.

True. But the Cards were offering 10 years and $220 million -- only $3 million a year less than the Angels deal. Keeping Pujols wasn't worth having one less Ryan Theriot on the team ($3.3 million salary)?

posted by rcade at 09:21 PM on December 08

Rcade, while I agree that it sounds easy to subtract a Theriot and make up that $3mill, I think the Cards did a good job of not getting too emotional about this. I'm a Cards fan, I would have loved to see Albert stay. However, I don't want to sacrifice our potential success in a few years because we got into a bidding war. Yes, the Cardinals probably aren't as good for the next 2 or 3 years as they would have been with Albert here but I think they will be in much better shape over the next 10 years by not tying up so much cash with an aging player.

I wish Albert luck. He did nothing wrong by taking the money (we would all love to make that much) and the Cards did nothing wrong by not matching the offer. We don't even know if he would stayed if they had matched it. Maybe he was just ready for a change. A lot of people have mentioned loyalty - that's a great concept and certainly has value. However, at the end of the day this is a job for Albert and I don't think too many people these days retire from the first company they worked for.

posted by 67nickel at 12:23 PM on December 09

... I think the Cards did a good job of not getting too emotional about this.

Maybe, but I think the 10-year, $220 million deal seems just as outlandish and risky in the long term as the Angels offer. I don't know why that final $30 million was the bridge too far.

A friend wondered about the tax implications of choosing California over Missouri and Florida. The link states that Pujols will pay $13 million more in taxes than he would playing for St. Louis and could've saved $50 million in taxes by taking Miami's reported 10-year, $275 million offer.

posted by rcade at 01:32 PM on December 09

It's not worth $50M to have to spend 10 years looking like Rainbow Brite.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:55 PM on December 09

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