We’re Still Undecided On Pujols’ New Contract

Albert Pujols. PujolsContract

The dark cloud that hangs over everything Cardinals related, albeit, less ominously in the wake of another World Series victory. Still, his tenure in St. Louis may have ended.

The managerial search is step one in this story. Will Albert like XXX as the new manager? Does this hire of XXX have any effect on Pujols’ decision? Etc al.

After Thanksgiving, the contract talks will begin to heat up. Recent reports have the Cardinals sticking with 210-215 million over 8-10 years as their standing offer and close to the max they’re willing to go. Pujols has been thought to want 300 million over 10 years.

It’s a wide chasm. One that I’m not sure how either side will cross meaningfully to get the deal done. So It begs the question… do you want Pujols back? And at what cost?

The first part? That’s pretty easy. Pujols had his worst season in the Major Leagues and will still end up in the top 10 of the NL MVP voting. Those types of players don’t come around often. So yes, yes we do want Pujols back.

The second question is more sticky.

I’ve often said here and in real life that the people who complain that the Cardinals are paying too much for a player are so very, very stupid. It’s not your money. You pay for tickets a few times a year and if Holliday’s contract might cost you 10 more bucks in 2012 than in 2011… It’s well worth it to have elite talent and pay more for it. Why people are obsessed with cost controls of a business they don’t have a stake in is way beyond me.

Tomorrow isn’t promised. I want to win NOW.

Will I chastise Kyle Loshe for not ‘earning’ his 11M per year? Hell yes I will. Will I question what money is spent where? Damn right. Will I lambast ownership for spending gobs of money on players? Never. I want the best players and the best players cost more money. Again, if that means a quarter more per beer… well, 8.75 isn’t a steal as it stands.

I do, however, know that the Cardinals aren’t the US Mint. They don’t print money. So I respect the fact that they have a budget of 110-130M per year. As a fan, it’s my duty to figure out how they best should spend that cash.

I can’t deny that Pujols was good in 2011. He was.

I also can’t say that I didn’t feel he wasn’t nearly as good as his best. He was injured for the first time. He slumped out of the gate for the first time. He swung at pitches he never swung at before this season for the first time. Again, he was good, but I can’t help but feel that he was a little less good than we’re used to.

Maybe this was a symptom of knowing that he was playing for the richest contract in baseball history. Many have speculated this.

Something was just off about 2011 with Pujols. He did more than enough to help the team win… but the dominance was slightly diminished.

Perhaps you’re like me. Sitting there and going back and forth on Pujols and if the 27-30 million he wants per season is justified.

Honestly? I could argue both sides at this point. But I can’t help but feel that Pujols is going to have to be the one that backs off a little on these negotiations. Not a ton, mind you. But a couple million here and couple million there.

Then again, I reserve the right to make up my mind on this at a later date. The World Series hangover is starting to recede a bit. Winter is creeping in on fall and we’ll all have more time to study up.

Stay tuned.

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