Albert Pujols and the Angels agreed to a $254MM deal today that will keep the longtime Cardinal under contract until he's 41. As you can imagine, the signing has inspired some reactions across the league. Here are a few takes and additional details on the second-largest contract in baseball history:
Tim Dierkes' take: In hindsight, it was odd to be talking about offers in the $200MM range on the open market for Pujols, who still may be the best hitter in baseball. It seems that ultimately the Cardinals were way behind in their offer, as both the Marlins and Angels offered over $40MM more. Before the 2011 season, a contract for Pujols topping Alex Rodriguez's $275MM seemed possible in free agency, but a rough start to the season and the lowest walk rate of Pujols' career might have given a few teams pause. Plus, the Yankees and Red Sox weren't involved.
Almost all long-term contracts end badly. Angels owner Arte Moreno knows that, and he's going for broke for the next three to four years. I generally appreciate an owner who is willing to do that. We see teams overpay for dozens of free agents every winter; Angels fans should be glad their owner did it for the best free agent in years.
I can't speak for Cardinals fans, but I don't see cause to be angry toward Pujols or the team. The Cardinals made the best offer they could reasonably afford, and it was nowhere near the others. They still have a strong team and the glow of two recent World Series wins. As for Albert, if I was him I wouldn't have agreed to a contract that made me the fourth-best-paid first baseman in the game.
Additonal Pujols reactions:
- The signing makes the Angels much better in the short term, but it's "almost unthinkable that this contract will look like a good one in 2021 when we look back on it after its conclusion," writes ESPN.com's Keith Law (Insider required).
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs agrees with Law, saying the Angels will need a lot of breaks in order for the deal to work out long-term.
- The Angels were the "unlikely beneficiary of the Cardinals' inactivity," says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Cardinals fans have the right to feel bitter, but comparing Pujols to LeBron James is misguided, since Pujols and the Cards won two championships, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- "I would like our fans to know that we tried our best to make Albert a lifetime Cardinal but unfortunately we were unable to make it happen," Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said as part of a statement, thanking Albert for his achievements and community contributions.
- Two other FOX Sports scribes provided their takes on the deal as well.
- At today's press conference, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto praised the athleticism of Mark Trumbo, now the Angels' former first baseman. Dipoto mentioned third base, designated hitter, and the outfield as possibilities for Trumbo, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- Appearing on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, Dipoto said the Angels didn't get heavily involved with Pujols until the last 24 hours before they reached an agreement.
- Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spoke to a few National League GMs who are happy to see Pujols switching leagues. "I'll miss seeing him," said Reds GM Walt Jocketty. "But I won't miss facing him."
- Typically big spenders, the Yankees and Red Sox weren't in on the Pujols bidding. Yanks GM Brian Cashman "gave it a nice, respectful no" when Pujols' camp approached him, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. Sox GM Ben Cherington said it would have taken "huge, fundamental changes" to the team's roster and payroll to sign Pujols, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
- As we discussed earlier, the Angels' offer wasn't the largest one Pujols received — the Marlins' ten-year proposal topped it.