Apparently the length of the contract it would take to sign Albert Pujols was less of a problem for the Cardinals than we were led to believe.
Reports prior to the end of talks yesterday indicated that the Cardinals didn't want to sign Pujols to a contract longer than six or seven seasons. But SI.com's Jon Heyman reports tonight that the Cardinals were willing to go nine -- or even 10 years. The only catch is that the offer was in the $200 million range. Or $75 million less than the Alex Rodriguez contract.
That would seem to be more of an annual value problem than a length of contract problem. Who would expect Pujols to take $20-22 million a year when Ryan Howard is making $25 million?
It bothers me that the Cardinals claimed they had reservations about paying Pujols past his prime when that apparently proved no obstacle at all. They just want to pay him at bargain basement prices.
The bright side is the fact that the Cardinals were willing to go nine or 10 years might mean that there is a smaller gap between the two sides than we have been led to believe. If the Redbirds could swallow a little bit more per year, could they get a deal done?
If they came up to $28 million a year -- but only for eight years -- that's $234 million. Not too much difference in terms of percentage. But instead of making Pujols the fourth-highest paid first baseman, he'd be the highest paid player in baseball in terms of annual value. I think that would carry some weight, especially if the Cardinals threw in a couple of vesting option years that would allow him to hit the 10 year mark if Pujols was still performing at a high level.