One more month until Spring Training.
You probably hadn't heard, but Cardinals firstbaseman, Albert Pujols is nearing the end of his current contract. I'll go ahead and take full credit for breaking the news. You're welcome.
My education & employment background is in business. Before my current employment, I spent about 7 years doing investments, financial planning for businesses, people...etc. Time value of money? Inflation? I get it. So, if I own the Cardinals & I'm looking at this Pujols extension investment (that's what it is, don't kid yourselves), here are some things I'm considering.
Albert has been in the league 10 years, there is no doubt in anyone's mind (including Heyman & Law) that if he retired today, he's a first-ballot HOF'er. Take a look at these numbers:
9th in MVP voting
What you just read are numbers that I cherry-picked. They are the WORST season numbers in each category of his ENTIRE CAREER! Said another way, his worst K total was 93 (2001), worst total games played total 143 (2006)...etc.
So, like Bernie Miklasz says, sign him. Pay him. If you sign him to a 10-year/$300MM deal (highly unlikely, I'd add), and he does nothing but put up the kind of numbers you just read for 7 or 8 of those 10 years, your investment has paid off very very nicely. If he has an "average...for Albert Pujols" type season here & there, even half the time--your investment has turned out to be extremely profitable.
Now, you may not be aware of the rule, but MLB prohibits contracts from including a bonus based on "playing, pitching, or batting skill". (Read @dgoold's recent piece for more detail) Basically, the rules say that you can't give a player a bonus for batting .300 or winning 20 games in a season. And like all good rules, there are certainly loopholes. Relievers like Trevor Hoffman & Mo Rivera can't be bonused on "saves". But to pay a bonus based on "games finished" doesn't violate any rules at all.
A-Rod's contract reportedly includes bonus potential for reaching "milestones", and there are 5 of them: HRs #660 (tying Mays), #714 (Ruth), #755 (Aaron), #762 (Bonds), and #763. People are going to pack the stadiums night-in & night-out to see these events...that drives revenue, and A-Rod's contract assures that he'll get a part of that revenue. If the Yankees are on a road trip to KC, and A-Rod has 761 career homeruns as the Yankees' plane lands at MCI, what do you think the chances are of the K selling out that series? Exactly. Remember the buzz leading up to when McGwire was going to break Maris' record, and hit #62? Well, imagine that kind of excitement, only on steroi...ummm, yeah. It would be a very exciting time. *sing-songy "awkwarrrrrd"*
Am I saying to just write the guy a blank check, and do WHATEVER it takes to make Albert a "Cardinal for life"? Of course not. We can't give the guy a trillion dollars & expect to compete. (Psssst, incase you hadn't noticed, we're gonna have to look at paying Carpenter AND Wainwright after 2012--I'll let you figure out what problems that creates) What I am saying is that maybe, as Goold suggests in his article, that the Cards take a page out of the A-Rod book & structure an agreement along those lines. I've heard the argument to give him part ownership of the ballclub--I understand that the CBA prohibits any active player from owning part of the team. So, you simply say, "Play for us for the rest of your career, and when you retire, instead of a gold watch, we'll give you 3% stake in the organization"...or whatever.
My point is that, it would be pretty difficult to not come out ahead if you're DeWitt. If Albert ends up with multiple injuries over the next several years, then, yeah, you got hosed. Outside of that, you're golden, BD2. So make it happen.