Still hoping that time will heal all wounds and that Albert Pujols will someday after he hangs up his spikes resume his role as the face of the Cardinals?
Well, you can forget that -- at least until Pujols is in his fifties.
The contract he signed with the Angels contains a personal services clause that will link him to that franchise through 2032. That means when it's time for the Winter Warm-Up or to throw out the first pitch on opening day long after Pujols has retired that he will be otherwise obligated.
Despite the fact that the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame calls the shots on which team's cap is on the head of the busts of players enshrined there, it's hard to imagine that Pujols' 15 years with that franchise won't weigh heavily on that decision by the time he is eligible the first time for election.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
I think the agreement to the personal services portion of the deal is the sharpest slap in the face in the entire decision to leave. Pujols didn't just decide to go play somewhere else for a while. He agreed to trade in his mantle as Mr. Cardinals for a sash that says "Mr. Angels" for the next two decades.
I don't doubt the Angels' play for Pujols was made with a desire to put him in the hall as a Halo. Anaheim's history isn't exactly that of one of the glory teams in baseball. The Franchise -- which has changed it's name four times in that span -- has only won one World Series in 51 seasons of play. It has only four retired numbers besides the obligatory number 42 of Jackie Robinson. And most of those guys aren't primarly associated with the Angels.
Number 11 was retired for Jim Fregosi who played for the Los Angeles Angels and the California Angels for 11 of his 18 years but who is better known for his futility as manager of the Angels, White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays. In 15 years as skipper he only won a pennant once -- in 1993 -- and he lost the World Series. He had a .488 winning percentage.
Number 29 was retired for Rod Carew who was made his name with the Twins organization in 12 seasons in which he made the all-star game each year, won an MVP award and finished in the top 10 in MVP balloting six times. He never finished in the top 10 in MVP voting with the Angels and, although he made six all-star games with California, he was a .334 batter with the Twins and a .314 batter with the Halos.
Number 30 was retired in honor of Nolan Ryan who spent less than a third of his playing days with the Angels. He's much better known for his late career heroics for the Astros and later the Rangers where he has been an executive and now is an owner.
Number 50 is retired for Jimmie Reese who played only three seasons in the majors -- two with the Yankees and one with the Cardinals -- before spending parts of five decades as a coach in the minors and majors. He was basically Anaheim's version of George Kissell.
As you can see, the Angels don't have a single player in their 50-plus years of existence who they can hang their hat on as a franchise player. No one in the baseball hall of fame is wearing an Angels cap. So I think it's pretty obvious that they're trying to change that with Pujols. Unless he has 10 years more successful than his first 11 with St. Louis, that would be a crime.
A last note, I don't know the terms of the Cardinals offer. But both the Marlins and the Angels included personal services contracts as part of their deals. I was an advocate a long time ago of the Cardinals doing the same, which a lot of teams do with their former players. So, if the Cardinals offered Pujols $21 million a year for 10 years and $5 million a year for 10 years for promotions after he retired, that's $260 million. Would it have madea difference?