Albert Pujols signing with the Angels didn’t surprise me. Anaheim paying $52M more than Miami’s 10-year offer did.
In fact, I got a good laugh Thursday morning when I heard the news about Pujols. Not because of the ridiculous money involved, but because I never once thought any team would surpass the Marlins’ $200M offer…by a whopping $52M, no less.
So with the Pujols decision being what it is, here’s both the good and bad news from it concerning the Cubs.
-First and foremost, the Cubs didn’t hoodwink themselves into an absurd deal for the great slugger.
Chicago’s been-there-done-that approach of signing big-ticket talents over the past five years has resulted in nothing but headaches and underachieving performances. Not the best way to start a New Way on the North Side.
-Secondly, Pujols is not only out of the division, but out of the National League. A double whammy good!
-Lastly, Albert signing with Anaheim eliminated the absolute worst case scenario of him ending up as a Yankee or Red Sox. There was little to no speculation that would even happen, but it’s still relieving, nonetheless.
-Had Pujols accepted a shorter deal, and one for less money (even a silly $50M less), the Cubs would have a greater chance at landing Prince Fielder at a reasonable four or five-year deal.
Unfortunately, Pujols’ mega-deal adversely affects the Cubs’ chances at signing the Prince. With Fielder now in the driver’s seat in route to getting a deal closer to what he wants–seven-plus years and money comparable to Pujols’, it simply doesn’t make sense for the Cubs to chase Fielder much longer…if his asking price remains sky-high.
-As much as we yearn for player loyalty, the Pujols contract puts to bed any idea that will ever happen in baseball’s near future.
If the game’s best player can’t understand the beauty of remaining in the same organization that drafted him, gave him two world championships, a loving fan base and an offer that would net him $200M-plus dollars…what hope is there any future greats will remain a lifelong staple on their original club?
By all accounts St. Louis’ offer to Pujols was more than fair. You simply can’t fault the Cards for calling BS on a 10-year deal that potentially nets Pujols $280M. Twenty nine other clubs agree Anaheim’s decision is not favorable long-term. That’s on Pujols.
With that in mind, I’m not arguing Pujols isn’t worth the Angels offer, or that he’s a knucklehead for signing such a lucrative deal.
But 10 years from now can Pujols honestly look back and say leaving St. Louis was worthy of the arbitrary number that is the roughly $50M dollars that convinced him to move to Anaheim?
-Long last, it’s obvious Pujols’ departure from the NL Central immediately increases the Cubs’ chances at winning the division, which is good of course.
But for the sake of the Cubs vs. Cards rivalry, it’s losing the centerpiece of a bitter and long standing feud between both clubs.
Berkman, Theriot, Carpenter…all three together doesn’t equal the dislike and enjoyment Cubs fans gained from rooting against the Cardinals’, who owned the game’s best player.
No doubt the rivalry will continue, as it has despite the departure of many a great players on both sides. Losing Pujols, however, won’t give us the same feeling its had over the last decade. And that, no doubt, stinks too.