If the Cardinals can't afford to give Albert Pujols a 10-year contract for $30 million a season that pays him as baseball's best player, what if they gave him a 30-year contract for $10 million a year?
I ran the idea past a couple of buddies while watching the NFL playoffs Saturday night. I admit, at first it was met with chuckles. But why not?
The obvious answer is because Pujols isn't going to be playing for 30 more years. He might not play for 10 more seasons. But that's not the point. The purpose of the ridiculously long deal is to prevent the Birds from spending 30 percent or so of their payroll on one person during the balance of Albert's career.
Such a move would be made with intent to spread out Pujols' payments well past the time he retires so that the Birds can keep a quality cast around him while his is still playing.
Albert wants to play on a competitive team, right? So, instead of crippling the Cardinals with his salary demands, he could actually put $6 million more in the payroll kitty by taking less money in the future than he is currently getting. Why would he accept such a deal? Well, Pujols can't be hurting for money. By the time this season is done, he'll have pocketed more than $100 million from the Cardinals. He's already financially set for life. By having a steady $10 million paycheck into his 50s, think of what it would do for Pujols' ability to operate his charities when his playing days are over.
Imagine the 2010 Cardinals with Matt Holliday, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Ryan Ludwick, Yadier Molina, Brad Penny and Pujols plus $13 million to add to the bench and the bullpen instead of the $7 million they currently have available.
I don't know if the MLB Players Association or the league would allow such a thing. But why not? The money is still money. I'm guessing they will figure that if the player later gets banned from the game or a franchise goes bankrupt that the player might lose some money. It might also lead to a rash of similar contracts. But teams aren't going to give just any player a forever contract. And the bright side for Albert is that the Cardinals could afford to pay him a lot more under such a deal than they otherwise could.
In this extremely rare case, I think it would make sense for everyone.