|By Churchill/Crawford||By 02-07-2011|
|1. By: maqman on 02-07-2011 11:24:37|
This is an interesting case. Personally I don't see him worth 10 years at $30MM a year. He's fit but heavy and I don't see him contributing that value for that long, although he is currently the best player in the game. So was A-Rod not too long ago. I don't see how the Cards can justify that kind of expenditure given their market size. His contract could be an albatross that could hurt the club for years. I sure wouldn't want the M's to get him.
|2. By: Churchill/Crawford on 02-07-2011 11:28:20|
That's why the trade scenarios become so intriguing. Because its just a rental, no long-term commitment. But for the Cards to trade their version of Griffey, Jr., they might have to be blown away, despite trading away just one year -- or less -- of Pujols.
|3. By: Codasco on 02-07-2011 11:43:06|
Pujols has 5/10 rights and has said he will veto any trade.
|4. By: Churchill/Crawford on 02-07-2011 11:54:33|
Yes, Codasco, but that's just a ploy to eliminate an option for the Cardinals, which strengthens Pujols' stance on salary and years.
If they don't get a deal done, and there doesn't appear to be a light at the end of that tunnel, Pujols isn't stupid, he'll accept a trade to get the hell out of dodge.
But like we said above, it still seems highly unlikely that Pujols ends up anywhere else but St. Louis.
I will add that note into the intro, though, so readers don't get confused.
|5. By: firstname.lastname@example.org on 02-07-2011 12:13:56|
I just don't get why these "elite" players don't understand that it is better to be happy in their original city/team and making $22M/yr than being in another city where they might not be so happy and making $25-30M/yr.
Familiarity, being content, established relationships, etc should play into the decision. St Louis is a great baseball town.
I would not want the M's to think about trading our potential stars for 1 yr or less for Mr Pujols. Besides Jack Z would never do that.
Pujols, you should be happy with $22M or whatever you are offered and stay in St Louis.
True happiness is being content with what we have, not with what we want.
|6. By: Codasco on 02-07-2011 13:06:03|
Good point. I think another dynamic working against a trade is that the Cardinals are set up to win now. It's difficult to imagine another team giving up ML contributors, so they'd basically be punting the season by trading Albert.
|7. By: Rick Randall on 02-07-2011 13:14:57|
I gotta admit, I'm feeling left out with your little Lennon/McCartney bit.
Nonetheless, good post on why Albert's likely home is the only place he knows as home.
|8. By: baseballfan on 02-07-2011 13:18:50|
I have to disagree with your comments - you're assuming that an "elite" player won't be just as happy/happier in another city - there's no proof of that
While saying that Pujols should be happy with $22m sounds great (yes,$22m should make anyone happy),- it's funny how people like the free market for themselves but not for athletes - I have no problem if an athlete takes less to stay or goes for the most money - As someone who has benefited from the ability to move from one good company to another good company while significantly increasing my finances, why should I deprive someone else that right just because they play a game - I really hope to see that old time adage about "they should be just happy to play a kid's game" go the way of the dodo bird.
|9. By: eknpdx on 02-07-2011 13:29:19|
Has anyone ever done a "true dollar" analysis on MLB contracts, adjusted for cost of living, insurance, agent cut, etc?
One would have to assume $1m in St. Louis buys you a lot more than $1m in New York City.
|10. By: csiems on 02-07-2011 13:31:35|
Your mention of Griffey Jr gets me thinking of another way this could play out. Pujols could demand a trade to a specific team, weakening the Cardinals' ability to get a Teixeira like haul. The reduced cost in prospects could make a $300 million contract more palatable to his new team.
|11. By: slamcactus on 02-07-2011 14:03:51|
@5 cdiggins: "I just don't get why these "elite" players don't understand that it is better to be happy in their original city/team and making $22M/yr than being in another city where they might not be so happy and making $25-30M/yr.
Familiarity, being content, established relationships, etc should play into the decision."
That's assuming quite a bit about Pujols' mindset. He seems to like St. Louis, but first of all, his "original city" is Santo Domingo, and there are a whole bunch of major league cities with a larger Caribbean population than St. Louis. Second, St. Louis became his first major league city not because of his choice, but because that's the team that obtained the exclusive rights to sign him to his first professional contract through the draft. He's still in his "first city" because of an extension his team negotiated with him before his first six years of major league service time were up, a time when Pujols was not yet set for life financially and St. Louis again enjoyed a monopoly on the right to negotiate with him.
As a product of the draft, Albert Pujols has never freely chosen St. Louis over a full range of other options available to him. Both times he's signed contracts with the Cardinals, they've been the only game in town.
The concept of loyalty in this system which is so ridiculously stacked in favor of the team and not the player never ceases to amuse me.
I can only speak for myself, but if I was told that in order to get paid to ply my trade I could only negotiate with a single employer for over a decade, I don't think I'd feel all that much loyalty to that employer the first time I had an actual choice available to me.
|12. By: Rick Randall on 02-07-2011 14:26:43|
I understand where cdiggins is coming from, slam, and if you think that it is a fair comparison to take one man who plays a sport for a very rich living and simply put a regular working schlub in his place and vice versa and try to come to a conclusion as to what loyalty might mean to either when put in the others' shoes, I think you may be the one with the twisted sense of reality.
I would assume that 90%+ of professional athletes "live and die" with their "company" moreso than do your typical working citizen. Its not a system that you can use a plug-and-play mentality that we do in our working lives I'd say.
Players talk all the time about their loyalties -- especially to a team that first drafts them and gives them their first shot.
|13. By: slamcactus on 02-07-2011 14:56:09|
"Players talk all the time about their loyalties -- especially to a team that first drafts them and gives them their first shot."
Public statements made by athletes mean very little to me. Public statements are filtered through agents as often as not, and talking about loyalty is good P.R. If what you said was true, more athletes would take significant paycuts to stay with their first team. In today's MLB economy, aside from the odd outlier, the only player type who regularly signs below-market contracts to stay with their first teams are the ones who are still under club-control and are sacrificing a potential larger payout in exchange for security. They accept fewer dollars than their absolute highest earning potential, but there's also something substantial in it for them.
"I understand where cdiggins is coming from, slam, and if you think that it is a fair comparison to take one man who plays a sport for a very rich living and simply put a regular working schlub in his place and vice versa and try to come to a conclusion as to what loyalty might mean to either when put in the others' shoes, I think you may be the one with the twisted sense of reality."
This statement is ridiculous. It dehumanizes athletes. Yes, good players make a ton of money. The flip-side is that until they get their first long-term contract, they're in a very, very volatile situation, financially. A 3rd-year player making $400,000/year sounds like he's living the life, but he's also one bad injury away from losing virtually all of his lifetime earning potential in an instant. Even arbitration doesn't set players up for life, unless they are the most elite players alive.
Baseball players are human beings. They're human beings who have no freedom to decide who they play for. That means they have no freedom to decide what city they'll be living in. No ability to choose their colleagues and determine for themselves what situation they would like to be in. No ability to protest if their team decides to ship them across the country to another organization if they can get a package they prefer.
Baseball players don't sign those contracts when they're already rich. They sign them when they're between 18-22 years old. Nor do their first contracts make them rich. If they're drafted outside of the first 10 or so rounds (and they're not a fallen signability guy), their first contract is generally for an absolute pittance. Generally something between $1000-15,000, which entitles the team to up to 6 years of minor league club control, an additional 3 years of club-determined salaries, and then 3 years of arbitration where they earn a fraction of their market value (and that's in the best case scenario). While working their way through the minors, they earn poverty wages until they hit the 40-man.
Yes, many to most of them are floored to have a chance to play baseball professionally, but that doesn't mean they owe their team squat when they finally earn some freedom to choose those things for the first time.
"I would assume that 90%+ of professional athletes "live and die" with their "company" moreso than do your typical working citizen"
Then why don't 90% of players keep playing for their original teams? This is a statement with zero content. You're assuming something about the psyches of a group of people you have no firsthand knowledge of. You're also assuming a personality trait that runs contrary to the basic desire common to all people to have a say in one of the most fundamental aspects of their lives - the terms of their employment.
The best athletes are very wealthy, yes. That doesn't make them fundamentally different from other human beings. It certainly doesn't impose a duty of loyalty to a team they are forced to join by an exemption to this country's customary laws against monopolies.
Pujols should go wherever the hell Pujols wants. He doesn't owe St. Louis anything. Least of all loyalty. If he feels it, then bully for him. Expecting it of him is absurd.
|14. By: Rick Randall on 02-07-2011 15:17:38|
Well we can disagree here. I personally know a couple handfulls of current/former ballplayers and each that I've spoken with on the loyalty thing makes it sound like it is real.
And cdiggins was talking about elite players...and that's what I commented on. And I don't know of any elite players making the minimum (which I think is in the neighborhood of $1,000/month for a first year guy in the low minors now).
I agree that Pujols should do what he wants, loyalty be damned, and I don't expect it. But my point of players having that as a real factor in their decisions stands and is valid, regardless if you want to believe it.
|15. By: on 02-07-2011 15:27:39|
As Rick suggests, most people working "schlub" jobs don't play a game on a team full of teammates who win and lose together. One could try to draw a parallel in the "average workplace", but it isn't the same.
In my experience, when I'm on a team, whether Kappa Sigma or rec. league softball, my loyalties are forged much deeper than with the companies for which I've worked. There's something about "going to war" together that creates ties of affection.
I'm sure over the years Albert Pujols has created deep ties of affection toward St. Louis and the St. Louis Cardinals regardless of it being the only city and organization he's ever been associated with. He's loved there. He's won there. The fact that he hasn't had the opportunity to join another team until now is irrelevant. We're assuming that the past ten years have meant more to him than an impersonal paycheck.
All things be told, Albert wants to be paid what he's worth, and who can blame him for that? If the Cardinals offer him wages representative of the best player in the game, why wouldn't he stay? Would he leave for a few million more in LA/NY/DC next year? I would find it very surprising if he did.
It doesn't sound to me like anyone is expecting him to sign out of obligation. Some people relate to loyalty. Apparently others do not.
|16. By: slamcactus on 02-07-2011 16:04:04|
"And cdiggins was talking about elite players...and that's what I commented on. And I don't know of any elite players making the minimum (which I think is in the neighborhood of $1,000/month for a first year guy in the low minors now)."
Minor league salaries are on a uniform scale. Elite prospects live off their signing bonuses. Their wages are very, very low. And that $1,000/month only lasts for the months when the season is actually in session. During the off-season they earn nothing. For major leaguers, they earn the minimum or close to it for the first three years.
I know cdiggins was talking about elite players. I was talking about the experience of being a professional baseball player, and the fact that everyone sees it as perfectly acceptable that they are employed (yes, they are employees) under terms that would shock the conscience if applied to anyone else. It seems to be ok to the public at large because the most talented of them make absurd amounts of money. I think that's a serious failure of rational reflection, and to me, that's a bummer.
"I agree that Pujols should do what he wants, loyalty be damned, and I don't expect it. But my point of players having that as a real factor in their decisions stands and is valid, regardless if you want to believe it."
Nobody's saying that loyalty is a character flaw. You're right - Pujols has already amassed an amount of wealth in his life that is staggering to me. If he decides the marginal value of the extra $20-25 million he may be forfeiting if he gives a hometown discount isn't as strong a pull as his attachment to St. Louis, that's great. You won't hear a peep from me criticizing him for that decision.
My problem is with the sense of entitlement involved in comments like these. The implication is that loyalty isn't just cool when it happens, but rather that it's expected. And that when a player doesn't act against his own self-interest out of loyalty, it's some kind of character flaw. You may not be saying that, but you have to acknowledge that it happens (see: Alex Rodriguez's treatment in Seattle in the '00's because he decided not to leave ~$170 million on the table by re-signing with the Ms).
Major league organizations aren't adopted parents. They're billion-dollar corporations that are unique in this country in that antitrust laws don't apply to them, thus bringing the team-player relationship much closer to true "ownership" than we're ever comfortable with in other situations. Outside of international free agents (a system besot with its own host of problems I won't go into here), players lack autonomy in their careers until the moment that they become free agents. Judging them for their decisions the first time they have any say in making such a meaningful choice about their professional life is disrespectful bordering on dehumanizing.
|17. By: slamcactus on 02-07-2011 16:18:54|
"It doesn't sound to me like anyone is expecting him to sign out of obligation."
Did you ever attend or watch a Mariners-Rangers game in Seattle between the years 2001-2003? If so, I don't know how you can make that statement. People absolutely expect athletes to value loyalty over money. And that was a much more extreme circumstance than Pujols is likely to face (St. Louis's offer will likely approximate the market much more closely than Seattle's laughable best offer to A-Rod).
|18. By: rotoenquire on 02-07-2011 17:06:47|
I think if he goes to free agency the Mariners would be in any bidding for him. And Pujols would be a great fit. add such a veeteran to a young talented line-up and you would see a play-off team.
I am wondering, knowing how the M's feel in regards to M. Young would they bring him in. Say a Figgins for Young trade salary for salary?
Might need to add one other piece, but it makes sence to me anyways..
|19. By: DRWheelock on 02-07-2011 19:38:56|
God I don't even want to imagine Pujols as a Ranger next year ... just gives me nightmares:
In fantasy land I'd take that lineup over any MLB team out there! I have to say, knowing all of the stellar 1B guys coming up for FA next year...you have to think that Texas was willing to trade Smoak thinking that they will go hard after one of them (Fielder/Gonzo/Pujols) whichever ones come up as FAs. I really like how the Rangers are putting their team together, but it makes it hard for us Mariner fans to swallow.
|20. By: Rick Randall on 02-07-2011 20:34:31|
Torrealba, not Molina.
But yeah, that wouldn't be fair.
|21. By: thatbk423 on 02-16-2011 18:06:20|
For the record, Pujols should never hit 4th in any lineup. He has always hit 3rd and should always hit 3rd. I don't think even Hamilton should hit in the 3rd spot instead of him
that would be such a better lineup to utilize speed in front of Pujols
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