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Tuck: Pujols A Gift From Heavens for Angels

Posted By Mike Tuck On December 8, 2011 @ 12:14 PM In 1080 Sports,Insider Main,main feature,MLB,TO - Tuck and O'Neill main | 1 Comment

It feels wrong today that a career St. Louis Cardinals 1B, Albert Pujols is no more.  Guys that good you like to see play in the same place for their entire career.  Once that passes though, you realize what a great addition this is for the LA Angels.

Is ten years too long for any pro athletes contract?  Yes.  Injuries happen.  Age and decline occur hand in hand.

Is $250 million too much money for any one man?  Yes.  Coming from someone who can’t demand that kind of money, of course.  But for the rare few in this world with skills that can get you paid, then you get paid.  Life isn’t always fair and our priorities aren’t always in order, but that isn’t changing anytime soon.

Is it wise to pay a 32 year-old player a 10-year, $250 million deal?  Yes, I suppose if his name is Albert Pujols.

The two questions above, in a vacuum without any context, are easier to answer than the final question combining both, but including the man in question.

I’ve heard many a person suggest the years and money were both bad choices for the Marlins and Cardinals.  I imagine those reactions will be the same for the Angels today.  So why do I think this was a great deal for the Angels?

Because they’ll have Albert Pujols playing first base next season and nobody else will.

Albert Pujols is already one of the greatest players of all-time.  His career numbers speak for themselves.  Here is a reminder:

Year TM G AB H 2B 3B HR RBI R BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
2001 STL 161 590 194 47 4 37 130 112 69 93 1 3 .329 .399 .610 1.009
2002 STL 157 590 185 40 2 34 127 118 72 69 2 4 .314 .394 .561 .955
2003 STL 157 591 212 51 1 43 124 137 79 65 5 1 .359 .439 .667 1.106
2004 STL 154 592 196 51 2 46 123 133 84 52 5 5 .331 .415 .657 1.072
2005 STL 161 591 195 38 2 41 117 129 97 65 16 2 .330 .430 .609 1.039
2006 STL 143 535 177 33 1 49 137 119 92 50 7 2 .331 .431 .671 1.102
2007 STL 158 565 185 38 1 32 103 99 99 58 2 6 .327 .429 .568 .997
2008 STL 148 524 187 44 0 37 116 100 104 54 7 3 .357 .462 .653 1.114
2009 STL 160 568 186 45 1 47 135 124 115 64 16 4 .327 .443 .658 1.101
2010 STL 159 587 183 39 1 42 118 115 103 76 14 4 .312 .414 .596 1.011
2011 STL 147 579 173 29 0 37 99 105 61 58 9 1 .299 .366 .541 .906

 

Last year he suffered through some career lows.  Pujols’ suffering is another man’s all-star season.  I don’t view last year as the beginning of a decline.  I view it as a blip, and perhaps a slight readjustment of expectations for the slugger.  Will he be the same player in 10 years?  I doubt it.  But if he continues to be an all-star player and a feared hitter in the middle of the Angels lineup for the next 5 years while helping the Angels to pennants and World Series then the last 5 years won’t even matter.

Money has been wasted routinely in sports on Johnny-come-latelys and stiffs.  Overpaying and wasting a little money on a future Hall of Famer, possible all-time home run king, and arguably the best player in the game today is a mistake I’d be willing to make.

Reality in sports and other fields is you are underpaid in the start of your career and overpaid for your achievements at the end.  The only thing different about this is that it is attention grabbing for being so much money and for a guy to leave a team he dominated for, for the last 11 seasons.

The Cardinals will probably recover.  They’ll have a lot of money to spend on a lot of guys.  If they do it right, they’ll win.

But chances are they’ll probably waste some of that on bad decisions and bad contracts.  I just know if I was a Cardinals fan I’d rather take my chances on one of the greatest Cardinals and players of all-time and if I am complaining about the deal in 7-8 years, then so be it.  For today and the next 5 or more I know I’d have a stud and a team capable of contending for a title.

That’s what the Angels can look forward to.  Forget 8, 9, 10 years from now.  Nobody is promised that.  Be excited about tomorrow and the upcoming season where you’ll have one of the favorites to win it all.

 


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