02.17.11

St. Louis Scribe Suggests 8 Years Is An Eternity

Posted in Baseball at 9:08 pm by

Does Albert Pujols feel a responsibility — as his manager, Tony La Russa has charged — to establish a new bar for what the game’s best player is worth?   Or do his current employers honestly believe they can keep their otherwordly offensive force in the fold by paying him less annually than Philadelphia lavishes upon the far more whiff-prone Ryan Howard? Above and beyond the posturing, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz credits Pujols (sort of) with a narrow victory in this week’s P.R. battle, with Albert’s arrival in St. Louis camp earlier today being given high (cosmetic marks) for the claim, “I want to be a Cardinal forever.”



Sure, I believe that Pujols would like to finish his career here. But at what cost? Does he want to be a Cardinal forever only if the team makes him the highest-paid player in MLB history? Or is there room for compromise? Just wondering: if Pujols really wants to be a Cardinal forever, then wouldn’t an eight-year deal (at the appropriate annual average value) accomplish that? How much money does he need and want to be a “Cardinal forever?”

And according to Joe Strauss, DeWitt apparently offered Pujols an equity stake in the ballclub. In other words, DeWitt was willing to make Pujols a partner — an ownership partner. Which is virtually unprecedented in major team sports in the U.S. Granted, we don’t know how much of an ownership stake DeWitt was willing to give to Pujols. I can’t imagine it would be a significant percentage. Still, if the team owner wants to hand you a piece of the franchise, at least it shows a willingness to be creative and make something happen, and make Pujols a Cardinal for life. Basically, we have to think it comes down to this for Pujols: a Cardinal forever, yes, but only if the price is right. A Cardinal for life, yes, but only if DeWitt pays him what he wants.

Perhaps in the future, we’ll see a day in which there is competition for Mr. Miklasz’ talents.  If he has the leverage to seek the highest possible salary, I sincerely doubt any of his colleagues or readers will ask, “how much money does Bernie need?”

5 Responses to “St. Louis Scribe Suggests 8 Years Is An Eternity”

  1. glenzo says:

    I agree with you to a point, GC. It boils down to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs- I can easily envision a scenario where if Miklasz were commanding a seven figure salary (admittedly a ways off, but still a fraction of Pujols’) he might very well forgo another 10-15% for a better shot at a Pulitzer, public acclaim, a beat he particularly coveted, etc.

    Of course he would be under no obligation to do so, and neither is Albert- but Pujols is the one stating that he places a premium on being a Cardinal for life. The question is where Albert perceives the greatest incremental value? The money? The “one uniform for life” designation? Loyalty to the local market? A bigger stage? Setting a standard for his MLB brethren? All are valid, but one has to make a call.

    Then again, let’s not forget the competitive aspect. Recall what a disaster A-Rod’s initial Texas contract turned out to be from a team-building standpoint. If any non- NY or Boston team commits that kind of cash and then pinches on the supporting cast, how satisfied will Albert be sitting in 75-85 win purgatory? Is that worth the extra few mil on top of $175M?

  2. GC says:

    “Recall what a disaster A-Rod’s initial Texas contract turned out to be from a team-building standpoint. If any non- NY or Boston team commits that kind of cash and then pinches on the supporting cast, how satisfied will Albert be sitting in 75-85 win purgatory? Is that worth the extra few mil on top of $175M?”

    excellent point, Glen, though I’d wager the investments to date in Holliday, Wainright and Carpenter will be judged more favorably than the Chan Ho Park contract. Albert’s supporting cast (at present, anyway) could be far worse.

  3. glenzo says:

    But that’s my point- he’s better off in St. Louis for what now sounds like $200M. If the Cards have truly determined they can’t go to $275 and still afford Holliday, Carpenter, Wainwright, etc. who else will pony up to that pricetag? Chicago, probably- which has a heck of a lot less to surround him with, and would then have less remaining money with which to acquire more parts.

  4. GC says:

    Mr. Callen has already suggested the Yankees can place Albert atop their present first baseman, totem-pole style.

  5. itsmetsforme says:

    and there’s 20% of the Mets just sitting there, waiting for Poosie to claim.

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