Well, at least it's over.
The Anaheim Angels have signed former St. Louis Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols to perhaps the dumbest contract in the history of professional sports -- a 10-year deal that reportedly is worth as much as $260 million.
It turns out, I guess, that it was all about the money.
Merry freaking Christmas.
People can say what they want about not being able to turn their back on $40 million. But I have absolutely zero sympathy for a guy who would have made in excess of $300 million as a baseball player in St. Louis over the course of his career. He's got enough cash for 10 or 20 lavish lifetimes. But it was worth it to pull his children out of their school and away from their friends to grub up some un-needed extra cash. (Which will be flushed down the toilet due to the higher cost of living as I have previously written.)
I don't think the Cardinals are blameless in this, either, by the way. They should have signed Pujols two years ago when they had the chance. I really think they intentionally set things up to make it look like they made a big effort and Pujols just wouldn't have it. But they never offered as much money as was reported, instead sticking largely to the $200-million, nine-year deal that Pujols rejected in February and daring him to go elsewhere.
Yesterday the Marlins bailed and it looked like the Cardinals had a clear path to get a deal done. But, according to all reports, talks failed over "a few million dollars" which I would bet the farm meant the difference between the reported 10-year, $220 million offer and the real deal. Suddenly and mysteriously a report surfaced that it would take $40 million more than the Redbirds were offering to get Pujols to leave the Cardinals. And that's almost EXACTLY what Pujols got when he hadn't had an offer north of $10 million up to that point... Now, you wouldn't think that leak came from sleazeball agent Dan Lazano, would you?
Now the onus is on the Cardinals to spend the money they saved on Pujols -- at least $22 million -- on improving the team in other place. Nevermind that all the major free agents that might have helped them are either already signed or close to deals. Oh, and while the Redbirds fiddled with Pujols, Octavio Dotel signed with the Tigers this morning.
Thanks for nothing, Albert.
I say this with all sincerity: Pujols had the chance to be the second coming of Stan Musial and he made a decision to say no. So I hope with all my heart that the Cardinals don't dishonor the team's history and Stan the Man by erecting a statue someday or retiring the number of a greedy, lying hypocrite who turned his back on 3 million Cardinals fans. Please, give someone else number five in 2012 so we can begin to put this ugly page of Cardinals history behind us.