The Cardinals-Pujols Negotiation Debate… Pujols Threatens to Put St. Louis on Lockdown

Read the opposing argument from Babe Ruthless.

This whole Albert Pujols situation really exploded in the past two weeks or so. We’ve known for awhile that his contract was set to expire of the end of the 2011 season, and that he was going to be a wealthy man. We all just assumed that he would either reach an extension with the St. Louis Cardinals and there would be a general consensus that it would take place. That doesn’t appear to be the case after the passing of Wednesday’s self-imposed deadline to reach a new deal. So who is to blame? I think this is an easy one. It’s Albert Pujols. He’s being outrageous, actually.

I have a lot of respect for Albert Pujols. I was in attendance when he hit his 150th home run on a Sunday night in Atlanta nearly seven years ago. Until this point, he’s been worshiped in a city that worships baseball. But the fans in the Gateway City, as St. Louis is often referred to, know their baseball and I have a feeling those knowledgeable and passionate fans could turn on him. Who could blame them?

According to sources, St. Louis had offered Pujols an eight year contract that was believed to be worth in excess of $200M with a possible stake in ownership once his playing days are completed. With Pujols, currently 31 years old, the life of that type of deal would take him to the age of 39, and presumably, to the near-end of his career. As a middle-class American who earns considerably less than my sports idols, how I am supposed to feel toward Pujols for turning down such a contract, especially since he grew up in less than stellar conditions in the Dominican Republic?

There is no conceivable way to question Pujols’ credentials. He is arguably the game’s best player and deserves to be paid handsomely. But I don’t know if it is realistic to compare what he could make to what players on the New York Yankees make. That throws out the likes of Alex Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia, and Mark Texiera. A-Rod and Texiera also have the option of playing DH the last few years of their contract if age begins to take away their fielding skills. Besides, the Yankees are a whole other gorilla to tackle, and well, Albert, if you want that kind of cash, Brian Cashman would probably love to talk to you because he needs something positive going for him.

The Cardinals have stated that they can’t get into the payroll stratosphere with the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox. By signing Pujols to an A-Rod type deal, not only would the organization blow its payroll through the roof, but the chances of building a championship-type contender around the star first baseman would be severely limited.

There’s no question that the Cardinals are taking a risk by not reaching a deal with Pujols yet. Truth be told, it never should have gotten to this point. But it has, and the Cardinals are going to have to dig deep into the coffers because Pujols is asking for the bank vault and the keys to lock the vault up after he’s done with it. Signing Pujols to a contract that exceeds either of A-Rod’s last two contracts will make it less likely that Pujols will add another ring to that hand. Way to cripple your organization, Albert!

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