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:
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.