Now that shock of Pujols leaving the Cardinals has started to sink in, we have to ask ourselves if the Angles are going to get all one quarter of a billion dollars of their money’s worth from the deal? Albert is unquestionably one of the game’s premier talents, but, still, $250,000,000 is A LOT for any player, let alone a hitter already in his thirties. And ten years is long time. How many of those years can Albert realistically reproduce what he has been? Five? Six?
You can’t predict the future of any baseball player’s performance, you can only bet on what you know from the past. The Machine has a hell of a track record, and that’s what he’s getting paid for. His years with the Cardinals were like a long audition for the right to haggle out a deal like the one he just got. It’s not that unrealistic when you think about his upside in conjunction to his sample size.
Take a look at Ray’s signing of Matt Moore. 14 million for a prediction based on a less then 20 innings of big league service time? Having played with Moore personally, I believe that his talent his worth the price tag (actually more), especially when you consider his age. If he does pan out into a star arm, he’s a steal. If he doesn’t, he’s still a young left-handed pitcher, and there are worse things out there to take risks on in this game. From my insiders standpoint, the only thing that will slow Matt down is an injury. However, his mechanics are so smooth I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime smooth. My personal comments a side, a he’s still a youngster with several questions concerning his future.
While the Machine has virtually no questions next to his name, he is also not a spry youngster fresh into the Show. He’s a battle tested 31 year-old that has been on field for just about ever game for the last decade of his playing career. And instead of coming into his apex years, his production will slow down as he gets over the mid 30’s. Getting old sucks for everyone, but at least most folks get to do it with out a crowd of people chanting, “over paid!” at you while the effects set in.
The Angles get less risk with a guy like Pujols because his playing sample is well established, but, they are betting a lot that he’ll age gracefully as far as production goes.
And, there is always the chance that he’ll get snake bit, and head to LA and flat out suck. Hard.
For that matter, what if he would have stayed in Cardinal country and sucked after signing a huge bonus? Something about those big deals and the expectations they bring change players. It’s uncanny, but it happens. And they change fans too.
When I think about this have to laugh. After that article I wrote on bleacher report, one in which I got a good degree of heat for, supposedly, not understanding the fan’s point of view, I began looking back through all the teams in history who have had a player ink a huge dollar deal, then not produce the following year. They were eaten alive by the fans base.
When A-rod didn’t come out of the gates swatting homers like Ruth’s second coming, a shower of hate rained down on him. You can still feel the effects of it today. You might say that’s because he’s a Yankee and Yankee fans are X, Y, Z. But, up in Canada, where some of the friendliest people god every created live, after the heroic Vernon Wells signed for big dollars then turned around to slump the following season, he got booed each time he came up to the plate.
It’s entirely possible, even highly probably, that the same would happen to Albert Pujols, who is well on his way to tyrant status in St. Louis after being one of the best players and ambassadors of the game in decades. Fans say players shouldn’t do things for the money, but some of those same fans will boo a player they cheered for as soon as that player starts to suck, regardless of if he stuck around town or not.
The sales of Angel’s colored Pujols Jersey’s have already jumped dramatically. The amount of Angel hates getting worn to local California schools has also jumped. But, if Albert comes to town and does terrible, fans will think of 250 million reasons why Albert is a bane on baseball.
Thankfully Albert has a few things going in his favor. For starters, hes the real deal. Second, he’s in the AL now, so he can take some breaks from first and slide into the DH. This should help him keep his stamina up over a long season, as well as avoid a few nagging injuries, or nagging fans.
It will also help him produce later into his playing years—something that undoubtedly helped him decide to vacate the NL. If I’m a first basemen thinking about my production and it’s impact on my legacy, this is a no brainer move. It gets your stick in the line up while giving your body a rest. And, when those late 30’s come around, it gets you into the line up everyday.
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