Cha-ching! Albert Pujols's pricetag just went up.
The Phillies have announced that they signed their slugging first baseman, Ryan Howard, to a five-year contract extension that will pay him $125 million. That's $25 million a year for a guy who is a career .275 hitter with a .374 on base percentage and a .583 slugging percentage.
Pujols, who currently makes $16 million a season, is a .333 career hitter with a .386 on base percentage and a .644 slugging percentage. How much more money is he worth than Howard? Five million a year?
Obviously, Pujols could command an annual figure well in excess of what Howard -- who has two less MVP awards and one less Gold Glove (none) -- makes. If there is some good news it is the length of the contract.
Talk is that Pujols would want an eight or 10-year contract. I'm sure the Cardinals would jump at a shorter deal that would lessen their longterm liability. But it will be hard for the team to push the idea that the market doesn't justify a deal longer than five years for Pujols when the Birds just dished out seven seasons for Matt Holliday.
I still don't understand why the Cardinals went back on their word to try to sign Pujols to an extension this offseason. If they don't understand that prices only go up, this ought to be a real wake up call.