It is amazing that as the NFL and NBA recently concluded labor disputes their popularity isn’t suffering as much as Major League Baseball; who are losing the youth demographic. The decision for L.A. Angels owner Artie Moreno to pay Albert Pujols two hundred fifty four million dollars over ten years is ludicrous and absurd. Say that again $254 million over 10 years.
There is speculation of what Pujols’ age really is.
In 2011, I am skeptical of this notion because data around the world are fairly transparent. If that were the case, the truth likely would have come to light by now. Even so, men of a certain age (shout out to Ray Ramano) will not produce more than in their prime without assistance from performance enhancing drugs.
Once again, this is a scenario where a club is paying for past performance rather than what an athlete will achieve in the future.
Enormous contracts of the past should prove what a mistake this is. New York shelled out extra money for Alex Rodriguez after the Texas debacle and we have seen what his production has been lately. The Yankees also paid Derek Jeter around seventeen million dollars annually over three years to obtain his three thousandth hit in pinstripes.
This decision, among others, left them on the outside looking in come World Series time this past season. Carl Crawford’s long term deal in Boston has turned out to be a disaster. It is part of the reason that both Theo Epstein and Terry Francona have departed. Paying a player past his prime for speed is curious at best.
These busts are not isolated to the Northeast region of the country, but I have chosen to put a spotlight on them because they are the sport’s two biggest franchises. This is especially true with the Dodgers ownership difficulties that threw away an entire season despite two legendary performances by Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp. These are two players that are worthy of long-term big money contracts because they are in their twenties and at the top of their positions.
What would have been fair for Albert?
I have no problem with what he makes per year. Paying someone a half a million dollars per week is all relative. I simply take issue with the duration. Half the years and half the amount seem logical. The real winner in the whole scenario is Saint Louis. They don’t have to deal with the backlash of Pujols leaving with a reasonable offer. They also can spin it so that the departure of manager Tony LaRussa was a primary factor in Pujols’ decision to leave.
The one bright spot in the whole situation is that Pujols will now be suiting up for a team in the American League. This will allow Mike Scioscia to play him occasionally as a designated hitter. The problem with this is that Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu are already on the roster in this same situation. It will probably come down to whoever is nursing a minor injury. The addition of pitcher C.J. Wilson will bolster an already strong starting pitching rotation.