|Pujols Aiming for Big Contract||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on October 28, 2011
Baseball agent Dan Lozano certainly didn't need another argument that Albert Pujols deserves the richest contract in baseball history.¬† But Pujols decided to make sure that no one in baseball doubted that at all.¬† His own upgraded version of Mr. October manifested Saturday night in Texas when he clubbed three home runs, drove in six and went five for five.¬† Take that A-Rod.
It was a show about how one man, especially a great hitter, can transform a game and even carry a team.¬† And while Pujols is certainly the biggest star, and perhaps the most productive anywhere in the game, this team comes across in the national media more as Tony La Russa's team than Pujols'.
Any team that makes an offer to Pujols knows exactly what they are getting, a guy already guaranteed to make the Hall of Fame and who will be remembered decades from now as one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen.¬† No, that's not hyperbole; that's the truth, one that hasn't been played up as much nationally as it should be because he's not playing in one of baseball's biggest markets.
And this is a guy who has three MVPs already, has hit 30-plus home runs per year for 11 consecutive years and hit over .300 in ten of them (he hit .299 this year).¬† He's in the elite company of Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth as the only players to ever hit three home runs in a World Series game.
The fact that Pujols has this much talent and is just 31 might well mean that even teams who have a top notch first baseman locked up in a contract might make a play for a guy who any baseball man will tell you is already a legend to those who play the game.
While plenty of teams could make an offer to him, most of them will be dark horse type of offers.¬† Pujols wants to win and non contenders looking to get him will have to make an offer that just overwhelms common sense.
But any team might have to do that.¬† Pujols wants a deal bigger than Alex Rodriguez's 10-year, $252 million dollar deal. It's possible it might happen, but in the current economic climate, and with almost all of the top spending teams tied to upper tier first baseman, the market could be a slower than he'd hope.
In reality that might be fine.¬† Pujols is tied to St. Louis in many ways, he has a charitable foundation there, he grew up there and he has played baseball there for more than a decade.¬† He's a legend in that city and loved the way that Ted Williams was in Boston.
Perhaps more importantly is that Pujols likes St. Louis and has made enough money already in his career that no slightly better offer is likely to tempt him to jump ship.¬† He's respected by management and has a good enough relationship with them, even following the failed contract talks in the spring, that still makes them the favorites to sign him in the offseason.
So while the Cardinals may be considered La Russa's team by the national media, the fans in St. Louis would disagree.¬† The Cardinals are Pujols' team and will be until he says he wants to go.¬† That might be this offseason, but it could also be that Pujols will play every game of his career in a Redbirds uniform.