Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Tuesday that the Major League Baseball Players Association is putting immense pressure on Albert Pujols to sign a huge contract.
According to ESPN's Jayson Stark's latest tweet, La Russa said the pressure is "Not just arm twisting." It's more like "Dropping an anvil on his back thru roof of his house."
This makes me wonder if Pujols is more inclined to sign with the Cardinals than we are being led to believe and this posturing is just to make the players' association happy... But, the bottom line is, Albert has to be his own man. He has to be able to look at his kid's faces in the morning and know that he did what is best for his family and for his reputation. It's not his job to make sure the next above average ballplayer gets a $160-million contract.
The easy answer on all of this is for the Cardinals to offer Pujols more than Alex Rodriguez's 27.5 million a year -- but for a shorter term. And for Pujols to accept that he doesn't need a 10-year contract. How can the MLBPA argue with a contract that pays Pujols more per season than anyone has ever received before? Or that pays him through his 39th birthday?
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A shade more than $28.5 million a year for seven seasons gives Pujols $200 million for the life of the contract, doubling his pay over the generous contract the Cardinals gave him in 2003. it doesn't hamstring the Cardinals for years beyond his playing days and, frankly, his status as a drawing card justifies it.
If the Cardinals offered $28 million for seven years with an option for an eighth year at $30 million or a $10 million buyout, that's a total of $206 million (meeting Albert's demand for a contract over the $200 million mark) with an average value of 29.43 million (nearly $2 million more than A-Rod's average paycheck) wouldn't that seem to get the job done?
How can the player's association expect working people in the United States to pay more than that for a ballplayer, recession or not?