Look, people. If you thought for a second that a deal would be done by Noon EST today, you really need to have that looked at. Remember, there are still two more outs for the Cardinals. They still have until 5 days after the World Series before Albert is officially a Free Agent. Even then, there’s still a third out if they offer something competitive within the market of free agency. So, now that the first “deadline” has passed, I figured I’d throw my $0.02 into the mix.
Fair Market Value
Yes, the economy is in pretty bad shape. Yes, $30 million per year is a crazy number. But yes, we live in a capitalistic society. The Cardinals (or any team) can do whatever they want with their money. Albert Pujols can ask for whatever he wants. The precedent has been set in the Major Leagues for insane amounts of money for the best players in the game. As of the 2009 season, the league minimum was $400,000. That’s for a guy that rides the pine and never gets his spikes dirty. For Albert Pujols, the Fair Market Value is near $30 million per year. In the same way that the value of your house is determined by recent sales figures for those around it, the value for a player is determined by recently signed contracts. Ryan Howard, A-Rod, etc. have set the standard, value or not.
Sure, $300 million could do so much more for our community. A friend recently put it beautifully when he pointed out that $30 million in Albert’s hands isn’t like $30 million in A-Rod’s. Albert isn’t going to get his and hers Lamborghinis (well, he might, but it’s still a drop in the bucket). He’s going to give to the community. If $30 million per year is the fair market value for a player, Albert’s the guy I want earning it.
You can run the numbers to prove any point. I’ve heard Albert contributes up to $240 million per year in revenue to the Cardinals, based on attendance, memorabilia, etc. If that’s true, he’s worth every penny for that reason alone. I’ve also heard that with Albert, the Cardinals only win an additional 10 games per season, so he isn’t worth it. So, is the value in wins or revenue? Obviously, it’s both, but you need to balance those to arrive at a true value to the team.
Off The Field
Then there’s the value you can’t put a price on. The fans. The charities. The publicity. The list goes on and on. Think about the value Kurt Warner brought off the field in the region when he was a Ram. The leadership, inspiration and more that he provided Our Town pales in comparison to that which Albert provides. Can we afford to lose that? Many say no. I tend to agree.
It’s a Business
See Fair Market Value. While it’s unreal to see these types of numbers being thrown around, the precedent is set. You can’t fault either side.
The Cardinals have historically been a very frugal team. I would like to think Walt Jocketty would have made it happen, while Mozeliak has proven himself more interested in development than investing in superstars. To him, Albert is just another player, as he should be. Mo knows he can get 5 top rated players for Albert’s salary.
You can’t fault Albert to want fair market value. I don’t care who you are, you want to be paid fairly. Albert is the greatest player of all time. He deserves an exorbitant salary. At least, he deserves to ask for it.
Player / Team
Albert is one guy of nine at any time on the field. Albert doesn’t win games (argue all you want), the St. Louis Cardinals win games. The old adage “There’s no ‘I’ in team” rings loud and clear in this case.
You’re still a Cardinals fan. You understand the game. You understand the business. I know this because you’re a Cardinals fan. We’ve proven time and time again that we’re the smartest fans in the game. If you’re this worked up, no matter what side you’re on, about one guy’s signature you need to rethink your priorities. And by priorities, I mean you need to consider your allegiance to the game, to the team and seriously, your life in general.