Not Much Progress Apparent For Cardinals, Pujols

Spring Training is just a week away, so the Cardinals don't have much time to lock Albert Pujols up, but if the sides are making progress it's not noticeable. Yahoo's Tim Brown reports that the Cardinals hadn't made a concrete offer as of this weekend.

By this point, the sides surely know the framework of the discussions and it's clear that Pujols is well-positioned for a nine-figure deal. According to Brown, Pujols is thought to be looking for a deal like the one Alex Rodriguez signed with the Yankees after the 2007 season (A-Rod got $275MM guaranteed and his record deal allows him to make more through bonuses). One prominent agent says Pujols is worth $36MM per year, because “now, it’s brand related. Pujols is a brand.”

Pujols, who is set to hit free agency after the season, has set a Spring Training deadline for negotiations with the Cardinals.


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90 Comments on "Not Much Progress Apparent For Cardinals, Pujols"


4 years 6 months ago

He SHOULD have Dodger written all over him.

4 years 6 months ago

I bet if they did sign him all the stars would start coming out to the games. The place would be a packed house night in and night out. Too bad for the ownership issues they’re having or they probably would be in the mix if he becomes a free agent.

4 years 6 months ago

True… I just don’t see why they don’t.
In LA, he would make all the money back in merchandise and sales.

CardsCreep
4 years 6 months ago

Aren’t merch revenues split amougnst all MLB teams?

Ferrariman
4 years 6 months ago

i think he is referring to private deals such as Kobe Bryant with his shoe line. at least thats my guess. If not, than yes you are right: merchandise is divided among all teams.

4 years 6 months ago

It is what I meant… I mean the Manny Jerseys sold like hot cakes imagine even a non baseball fan hearing he is the best player in the game and you have all the wealthiest and popular names in LA going there along with the hardcore fans like myself.

Ferrariman
4 years 6 months ago

then it won’t matter. Merchandise is distributed among all the teams. Dodgers sell out almost every game anyways, you can’t go over the maximum. Hence the term “max”

Mario Saavedra
4 years 6 months ago

only a percentage is distributed among all teams… at least I think so.

vtadave
4 years 6 months ago

Not quite. Dodgers average about 44,000 per game while capacity is 56,000. I don’t know how many additional fans would come out for Pujols, but an extra 300,000 annually wouldn’t be a stretch.

4 years 6 months ago

If he takes a 300 million dollar contract over the next 300 years.

not_brooks
4 years 6 months ago

This sort of makes me sad.

I’d almost rather see Pujols take a discount to stay in St. Louis than sign a 10 year, $300MM contract with my team.

4 years 6 months ago

Either you currently have Lou Gehrig with Jimmy Foxx backing him up or you hate your team.

not_brooks
4 years 6 months ago

Option 3: I’d love to see one of the greatest players of all time stick with the same team for his entire career.

4 years 6 months ago

I guess I’m just greedy. I’d rather my team have a better chance at winning.

not_brooks
4 years 6 months ago

Me too, but then you’ve got to think about the $30MM contract factor.

Alex Rodriguez’s contract killed the Rangers for three years and it took them quite a while to recover.

Would Pujols really be any different for the fringe teams with a lot of money that don’t currently have a long term solution at first base? I’m thinking the Jays, Mariners, Orioles, Cubs, Nats and maybe the Angels, Rangers and Dodgers.

Of those eight teams, the Angels, Rangers and Dodgers are the only three that really are just a Pujols away from being a perennial contender, and the Angels, Rangers and Dodgers are probably the least likely of those eight to add him.

4 years 6 months ago

I just don’t think you can chance him going to free agency. On the one hand, maybe he hits free agency and there aren’t any teams willing to throw 10/300 at him. On the other hand, if he goes to free agency and sees that kind of money, even matching it might not do the trick. It’s definitely a ton of money, but this kind of player comes along once in every two lifetimes. In my opinion, when all is said and done, Pujols will be remembered as a better player than Arod. Only place Arod has an advantage would be stolen bases, but I’d rather have a guy that hits .340 with 40 bombs and 110+ RBI for 10 years straight.

Drunken Superman
4 years 6 months ago

Please, A-Rod’s contract did not kill the Rangers, contracts for guys like Chan Ho Park, Juan Gonzalez, and Cal Everett killed those Rangers, among others. ‘Taking awhile to recover’ had nothing to do with it either. He didn’t give the team PTSD.

Pujols would be worth it for every team listed above. He’s a once in a generation type player.

4 years 6 months ago

We may find the idea of Pujols (or any player) getting $30MM a year ideologically distasteful, but just for the sake of argument, Fangraphs has his dollar value at an average of $29.7MM a year over the last 9 seasons.

Ben_Cherington
4 years 6 months ago

My thoughts exactly…29.7! I knew he wasnt worth 30mm per year!

stl_cards16
4 years 6 months ago

That’s actually a pretty good arument for why a team should NOT give him 30MM a year. Say he signs for 9/270 which most of us would consider a *good* deal for the team. He would have to perform at the same rate he has the past 9 years, just to BREAK EVEN on the deal. So basically there is no way a team *wins* with the contract Albert Pujols gets. At best you break even.

RedSoxDynasty
4 years 6 months ago

Most free agents never overperform. If Pujols did break even it would be in everyones interest to try and get him! Manny Ramirez was signed to 20 million for 8 and was worth it and more for his performance!

jb226
4 years 6 months ago

The thing you have to realize about Fangraphs’ value is it’s based on replacing his production, but that doesn’t mean it can be done in a feasible way. Maybe a team doesn’t get full value over the life of the contract, but barring a PRECIPITOUS drop in production, you’re going to need two players or more to replace what he brings. Maybe that’s a good idea; for some teams it probably would be. For others, being able to get all that production in one roster spot has a value beyond just what some mathematical formula says makes them even. According to 2010 value (very much a down year for Tim), you can replace Lincecum with Joe Blanton, Kevin Millwood and Bronson Arroyo — but you wouldn’t find many takers there.

Beyond that, there are ways Pujols can make you money. Selling more tickets is a very distinct possibility for many teams. If he’s enough to get a team over the hump to a playoff spot, the increased revenue from those games is also significant. And then of course there’s the fact that $30MM today isn’t worth $30MM nine years from now. Depending on how hard age ultimately hits him, it’s not impossible that he actually degrades with inflation such that you’re getting less from him in absolute terms but the same value in terms of cost of replacement.

But ultimately, $30MM for any one player… that’s a lot of dough, and 9-10 years is a scary long time. If somebody can get him for that price or even a touch above but for 5-6 years I’d call that one a steal. Or maybe a team can get creative with lots of deferred money or a post-playing-days services contract or something along those lines.

4 years 6 months ago

I totally agree with what you said about inflation.

Let’s break it down ussing the standard $5MM per WAR figure floating around this offseason, starting Pujols off for 2011 at 7.5 WAR (which might be low if anything). From there, we’ll use the 0.5 WAR decline per year and the 5% annual inflation in the cost of WAR that Neyer used in evaluating Adrian Gonzalez’ reported contract demands.

That would put Pujols as being worth–strictly in a baseball sense–$317.5 million over the next ten years. And that says nothing about his value in terms of marketing.

Mudhens
4 years 6 months ago

The Cards are in a tough spot with this contract situation. Pujols is certainly worth a ton of money but can the Cardinals afford to pay someone 30 million a year? Sacrifices will probably have to made to accommodate such a contract.

Plus, they cannot trade him because of his 10/5 rights. I kind of feel that the Cards are in something of a lose/lose here and I feel bad saying that because I like and respect Albert.

erm016
4 years 6 months ago

Maybe they shouldn’t have given Matt Holliday the amount of money they did. I mean, he’s not THAT good. Pujols is.

stl_cards16
4 years 6 months ago

But you could have two Matt Hollidays for the price of one Albert Pujols…..Which is the better investment?

phoenix2042
4 years 6 months ago

anything but the mets at this point. and nick johnson.

stl_cards16
4 years 6 months ago

uhhhhh you lost me?

erm016
4 years 6 months ago

Personally… I think I’d rather have 1 Albert.

The brand such as it is, the fan base, etc. I’m a huge Pujols fan and I’m a die-hard Braves fan. If there is one person outside of Atlanta that I want to see do great things, it’s him.

I don’t think two Hollidays will give you the return that one Albert will.

Ferrariman
4 years 6 months ago

maybe not, but 300million gets you 2 Holliday’s and probably a Rickie Weeks. Thats over an annual 15WAR.

FrankTheFunkasaurusRex
4 years 6 months ago

at three positions

Ferrariman
4 years 6 months ago

whats your point? Fill 3 holes then. We get no production from the middle infield. Jose Reyes, Rickie Weeks, and maybe Fielder > Pujols.

stl_cards16
4 years 6 months ago

St. Louis loves Albert no doubt. But honestly there are other players pretty close to as popular as Albert currently on the team. Everyone loves Adam Wainwright, and every girl in St. Louis owns a Molina jersey. I’m not saying it wouldnt’ hurt at all, but I think the damage that would be done is greatly exaugerated.

erm016
4 years 6 months ago

I’m sure you know better than I do for sure.

I just associate it to Jeter leaving the Yankees.

4 years 6 months ago

Why are people constantly crying poor for the Cards? I constantly hear how they have some of the best and most knowledgeable fans in all of baseball. Don’t they pack the stadium night in and night out? They make the playoff damn near every year. Why can’t they afford to pay him $30 million per year?

Brit Finnegan
4 years 6 months ago

I’m a Cards fan and question that all the time. The Phillies raised their payroll after winning the World Series … by 60MM. We dropped ours. Congrats guys, thanks for winning us that championship and filling the seats, now here’s the bad news – pay cuts, and we are raising the cost of tickets, and beers, and jerseys.

What is sad, is they get away with it every year.

4 years 6 months ago

That’s what I suspected. It’s crazy. They’re a well run organization though. They always seem to take pitchers who no one seems to be all that interested in and get a ton out of them. I think when Jeff Weaver pitched his behind off for them in the WS he had had a few bad years in a row. Guys like Penny, Westbrook, Lohse. STL gets them pretty cheap and they pitch very well. Just write the $300 million dollar check and be done with it.

aaronanderson16
4 years 6 months ago

Part of the problem was they had a front loaded loan for the stadium so they were trying to pay it off quickly. I also believe the Cardinals knew this day was coming 4 or 5 years ago and the owners were being greedy and trying to make as much money before this. It is still a bunch of crap but I believe this is how it is happening. The Cardinals I believe are willing to pay him 30 mil a year but not for 10 years. If they did 10 years you would have to figure they would be awful the last 3 or 4 years of that deal. Also Philly is a much bigger city than St. Louis, St. Louis has an awful Tv contract and that is what sets a lot of these high market teams apart.

4 years 6 months ago

Fans are great here in STL and a lot of them are very knowledgeable, but a lot of them are very naive and dont know anything…the games are sold out every single night because it is something to do for a lot of people. I was at a game one night and all a guy did was talk about what he made his kids for breakfast and what he sends them to camp with lol. The Cards have the money to shell out to Albert and do it with relative ease. They get away with “having the best fans in baseball” and the fans eat it up when ownership tells them that. The idiots dont realize they use it against them. Its time to pay him what he’s worth, they’ve gotten off cheap for 10 years now. And as for Holliday, they signed him to keep Pujols happy!!! If they let Albert walk it would make zero sense and ill be enraged.

$1639238
4 years 6 months ago

According to Forbes, the poor Cardinals are only the 7th most valuable franchise in baseball. 7 out of 30 is middle…right?

dc21892
4 years 6 months ago

The Cards are being smart about this in a way. They don’t want to give in and give him 30M a year for 10 years. It will be a probably when they have very limited flexability in a few years (assuming Carpenter has retired) with the majority of the teams payroll invested in 3 players. Although, at the end of the day… it may result in him walking.

4 years 6 months ago

He’s gonna be in a Pirates uni next year, they’ve been saving up for decades.

4 years 6 months ago

they should sign him to a 30 year, 300mil contract. cant imagine he would be upset making 10 mil a year into his 60’s.

Ferrariman
4 years 6 months ago

There is a lot of better ways to divide up 300million. Through the life of the 10 years, pujols will probably at best produce 75WAR in an ideal scenario. How often does ideal scenarios happen? Sorry, but thats too much. Have fun in wherever you end up Pujols….

timmytwoshoezzz
4 years 6 months ago

If the Cardinals haven’t made an offer, what HAVE they been doing?

4 years 6 months ago

Probably lots of drinking.

timmytwoshoezzz
4 years 6 months ago

Of course. After all, Tony Larussa is a member of their organization.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 6 months ago

For the last 6 years the Cards have been in the top 4 for league attendance. I’m wondering how much of that draw has Pujols brought in? We’re talking about a guy who’s numbers already have him in the HOF. I gotta think if the Cards lose him then attendance and merchandise sales will take a hit.

Of course on the other side, I gotta think there are better ways to distribute $36M.

phoenix2042
4 years 6 months ago

totally. here’s one way: buy a majority share of the mets.

dc21892
4 years 6 months ago

To add on to your stat, it’s kind of odd that they have a self-imposed cap that is so low.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 6 months ago

I remember the days when a payroll hovering around $100M was considered igh and “bad for baseball.” Now it’s “so low.”

It is kinda interesting though. Assuming they sign Pujols for around $30M a year then in 2012 they could potential have about $75M tied up with just Pujols, Holliday, Carpenter, and Wainright. At that point I think they’d have to increase their payroll to stay competitive.

dc21892
4 years 6 months ago

Exactly. I posted something above about it. Sure, it’d be great for them to keep Pujols around, but IF they can scratch every last penny from being spent they have to do it. The talks might get ugly, but the Cards either have to increase payroll or to try to save as much as possible in this Pujols extension. Some may see they have to do both. It’s a very odd situation in St. Louis. To have such great attendance, why isn’t the extra money being spent? Maybe ownership will give them the green light to hover around 130-40M in the upcoming years. I’m very interested to see how this all plays out.

stl_cards16
4 years 6 months ago

They just built a brand new stadium in 2006. Ownership let everyone know that payroll would hold steady while they were trying to get it paid off as quick as possible to avoid paying so much interest. The stadium should be paid off sometime this year(was the original plan). Then we will start to see a steady rise in the Cardinals payroll as we did prior to 2006.

dc21892
4 years 6 months ago

Ah, I forgot about the stadium. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 6 months ago

Ownership actually paid for that stadium? They didn’t do what every other management group does, threaten to move then stick the city with the bill?

$1639238
4 years 6 months ago

Well, they don’t pay any taxes on it and there was a bit of a controversy about sharing profits with the city once they made their money back, which they have and didn’t. Busch stadium was 100% privately funded the same way Yankee stadium was…not really very much.

4 years 6 months ago

As a season ticket holder, this puzzles me as well.

I am willing to pay the extra ticket price if Pujols stays. But if he leaves, adversely, I expect my ticket prices to drop.

It means everything to me for Pujols to be signed, but if he doesn’t sign, yes. Expect a hit in attendence. It’ll be much harder to sell games that I cannot make it to, even if it is the St. Louis Cardinals.

stl_cards16
4 years 6 months ago

As long as the team contends the stadium will be packed. There will be some whiners that don’t go to a couple games because their favorite player couldn’t be kept in town. But when they realize they are the ones missing out, they will soon be back to the ballpark.

Ferrariman
4 years 6 months ago

St. Louis doesn’t really care in general. The huge following in the lou’ can be traced back to Whitey Herzog and his “whitey ball” era(in other words, well before pujols) which was actually the sparking point of the fanbase. If the team contends, people will show up.

4 years 6 months ago

Do you think he’ll be a good fit for the Marlins? New Ballpark, Young Team, that would be scary.

4 years 6 months ago

Great thought, but the Marlins are cheaper than the Cards. Not to mention, no matter how good the team has been in the past, nobody goes to the games in Miami.

4 years 6 months ago

I hope Pujols stays as a Cardinal.

daveineg
4 years 6 months ago

Did I miss something or were the Cardinals not a successful franchise prior to 2001 (the arrival of Pujols)?

I’m sorry, but Brett Favre was considered “a brand” too. I’m not saying the situation is the same. Obviously Pujols easily has 5 -7 very productive years left (maybe more), but I have a problem with branding any player as bigger than a franchise. $300 million over the next 10 years will buy a lot of talent on the market and could be used to lock up a lot of guys already in the Cardinal organization. It’s very likely that even without Pujols, the Cardinals would still be a contending team in many of the next 10 years.

Again, I’m not suggesting the Cardinals should just let him go. They should make a very fair and substantial offer that’s at or near the top of the major league pay scale. But there needs to be a ceiling for any and all players that a team can and will pay.

$1639238
4 years 6 months ago

Daveineg wrote “Did I miss something or were the Cardinals not a successful franchise prior to 2001 (the arrival of Pujols)?”

Umm…From 1988 to 2000, they made the postseason twice. From 2001 to 2010, they made the postseason 6 times.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 6 months ago

“One prominent agent says Pujols is worth $36MM per year, because “now, it’s brand related. Pujols is a brand”.

***BREAKING NEWS*** “Albert Pujols has just dropped his current agent and has hired Scott Boras. Boras was seen entering from the back of Pujols’ suburban home late last night carrying a brief case and what appeared to be his very own first born child. He departed some hours later sans child”.

The_BiRDS
4 years 6 months ago

I feel like this website has been cutting and pasting their articles about Albert… If he signs great! If not, he hits FA and sometimes FA can be bad. Take a look at Matt Holliday, he got a great deal with the Cards but he had better offers out there. Especially the extension offered by the Rockies. My point is Albert may hit FA and flirt with the Angels, Dodgers, Mets, even the cubs but in the end he may not get that 300 mil offer everyone is expecting. Lets face it, Pujols is the best player in the game but he is at his all time prime right now. Hes not going to give any team the 10 years he gave St. Louis. Anytime a player becomes a free agent the club house, any club house looks at these things. So, with that being said I think the Cards have the best shot here. They may make the best offer. Either way, for the sake of the game and especially the National League, Pujols should remain a Redbird.

disgustedcubfan
4 years 6 months ago

I agree the Cardinals still have the best chance, even if it has to wait until next off-season.
Nobody is talking about the fact that Pujols is taking a chance also by not resigning with the Cards now.
If he blows out a knee or his elbow during this season, or somehow has a bad season, he can forget about 10 years as well as the $25-30 mill per.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 6 months ago

If you think about it, Pujols is not adding an additional $30 mil to payroll. He’s adding an additiona $14 mil. Realistically, there’s no way for us to know what the Cards break even point it with regards to salary. For all we know, the issue may not be them being unable to sustain a competive team w/ Pujols or whether they’ll simply make less profits by keeping him.

If I’m Pujols, I say “Open your books to an independent accounting firm and IF you can show me you can’t afford what I’m asking for, then we’ll figure something else out”.

Cards were 4th in attendance last year @ 3.3 mil yet their payroll ranked @ 13th. Of course there are other expenses that have nothing to do with player salaries but there are also other revenue streams as well other than attendance.

I suspect, Pujols has reasons to think the Cards can afford to pay him.

Ferrariman
4 years 6 months ago

the cardinals as a franchise grossed a hair over 200million last year according to Forbes. If one player gets 30million a year for 10 years, than your in trouble.

bjsguess
4 years 6 months ago

That’s a really interesting approach to the situation. I’m not aware of that ever being done before but given the historic ramifications of a Pujols signing maybe it needs to be done.

I happen to think that it’s not really a question as to whether they can afford him or not. The team clearly has financial goals (like any other business) that includes a certain dollar amount in profit. So while they may be able to sustain a $150m payroll before going in the red, the team may purposely keep $30-$50m in reserve for tough times/put in the bank as profit.

4 years 6 months ago

I realize this may sound ridiculous, but just because the Red Sox traded for A-Gon doesn’t mean he won’t find his way to the free agent market. Everyone keeps talking about the lack of teams that could make a $30,000,000 a year bid to Albert, would it behoove the Red Sox to let A-Gon go to free agency (assuming they can’t lock him up to an extremely friendly deal) and make offers to both players and see where they can get the best value?

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 6 months ago

A figure it this way, a bird in the hand is worth more than 2 in the bush. I think signing Gonzalez for $20M+ a year is ultimately worth more than Pujols for $30M+ a year. And no I’m not saying Gonzalez is better than Pujols.

4 years 6 months ago

I would agree. Honestly I was hoping the Cardinals would trade Albert to the Red Sox if he approved. Ultimately I think a two year younger, possibly $8-10,000,000 cheaper A-Gon is better value, but, will A-Gon hold out for a Howard/Pujols esque deal with a higher annual value than 20 million and will the Red Sox balk and go after Albert? Just hypothesizing.

Ferrariman
4 years 6 months ago

i would give Gonzo a Howard contract without blinking. he will be 28 when is a free agent and you have him until he is 33. Just prime years, not declining tail end years. Thats one thing that makes the howard deal so bad, it doesn’t kick in until he is 32 and runs through age 37. Pujols is looking for a deal that runs through age 41!!

4 years 6 months ago

But AGonz isn’t available. They lose Pujols and Derek Lee will be playing first for the Cards in ’12.

If he hits free agency and Teixera has another down year, Yankee fans will take a hit out on Ol’ Tex.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 6 months ago

Actually I’m betting Berkman would be the Cards plan B.

Brit Finnegan
4 years 6 months ago

I’ve been fearing this since the Cards signed Lance. There is no future for Berkman as an outfielder, this year and done for RF.

dc21892
4 years 6 months ago

Back to what we were discussing the other day. I still agree 100%.

$1639238
4 years 6 months ago

$30 million a year! The Cards can get 3…count em..THREE Kyle Lohse’s for that kind of money!

Brit Finnegan
4 years 6 months ago

biggest waste of 30M I can think of, well maybe 3.75 Lance Berkmans or 3.75 Jason Isringhausens (Blown-savring-hausen).

Karkat
4 years 6 months ago

I don’t care how good he is. No one is “worth” $36 million. But anyway…

I’ll be really sad to see Pujols leave St. Louis. I have nothing invested in the team, but he’s been an icon for the past decade — one of the “good guys” in an era defined by greed and steroids. It’ll be disappointing to see him set sale for the highest bidder (LA? Chicago? New York?) next winter. =(

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 6 months ago

Part of it is Pujols will have little choice but to seek a massive deal. Remember the rumors a few years ago that the union was pushing Sabathia to sign with the highest bidder? Same situation, star player, easily best FA on the market, the union will push him to pick up a top contract.

mozelpuffski
4 years 6 months ago

6 years at 150 mil or so would be palatable – 300 over 10 years is not. what i am getting at is in 5 6 years if he blows a knee or something what are you going to do? have a 30 mil a year pinch hitter followed by a pinch runner? Maybe cause of him NL will adapt the DH hehe that would be funny….