Last month when Albert Pujols was in Miami being courted by
the suddenly filthy rich Marlins, someone asked the free-agent
first baseman where thought he would wind playing next year.
Pujols responded by deferring to a higher power, "We're just
going to see where God takes us," Pujols said. Apparently,
God didn't tell him to go to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Kansas City,
or back to St.Louis. Pujols would have you believe that God
whispered in his ear and said, "Go ahead, be an Angel. Take
the money and go west, young man."
signing with the American League team in Los Angeles for
10-years and a total of $254 million But who did he really shock
besides the fans in St. Louis who thought he'd be like Stan
Musial and be a Cardinal forever? People were "shocked"
when Alex Rodriquez took the $250 million from the Texas
Rangers, weren't they? Why is anybody shocked when a
player takes the best offer and most money? Wouldn't you?
Oh, that's right, you're loyal to your employer and you'd
take less money to stay where you are.Yeah, right.
Loyalty went out the window with acid-washed jeans and the
Rubix cube. There is no such thing, especially in sports.
Look at Pujols. Everything about him appeared to be great.
Great person, family man, Christian, and teammate. Nobody
ever said anything bad about him, unless of course, you count
some members of the media who felt Pujols owed it to them
to talk after his costly error in the World Series. He was
beloved as a person and player as there's ever been in St. Louis
and the city claimed Pujols as their favorite son. Now they feel
betrayed. But players keep score and they know exactly where
they rank when it comes to the Benjamins. King Albert said it
wasn't about the money, but it was ALL about the money. It
always is. The Angels offered him more money than anyone else.
Name two players who have left money on the table. I'll give
you Cliff Lee. Name another.
Pujols is arguably the best player in the game and he wanted to
be paid like it. You think he was happy seeing Mark Texiera,
Ryan Howard, and Adrian Gonzalez making more than him? Forget
about being the highest paid player in the game, Pujols was the
fourth highest paid player at his position. He wanted to be numero
uno. Nothing wrong with that. He didn't owe St. Louis anything.
He gave them 10 of the best years in major league history and
helped them win two World Series titles and build a new stadium.
St. Louis didn't owe him anything, either. They made him a millionaire
150 times over.
It stings now, but maybe the Cardinals organization was being
smart and prudent. Hasn't anyone learned their lesson when it
comes to 10-year contracts? They become an albatross. You
think the Yankees feel good about being on the hook for six
more years and $180 million dollar for Alex Rodriquez, who
is clearly breaking down at 35. What do you think he's going
to be line at 41? Exactly. I'm sure the Red Sox would like to
get out of that Carl Crawford deal that has six more years on
it. Oh, sure, Pujols is going to have about five more monster
years, but do you really want to be paying for an additional
five at $25 million a year? I don't think any team would want to.
We wanted Pujols to play with one team for his whole career,
didn't we?We wanted him to be like Jeter, Ripken, and Gywnn.
He was going to be Cardinals royalty forever. Just like Musial
and Gibson. That can no longer happen. Pujols is just another
player who had dollar signs in his eyes when he his mouth said it
wasn't about the money. It's always about the money. Always.