By: Andy Atterbury>Angelo State University>Junior>Journalism, Photo by: Mike Tigas
With 300 million dollars you can buy roughly 23 thousand 2011 Honda Accords. It’s not likely Albert Pujols wants 23 thousand midsize sedans, but he does want a 10-year, 300 million dollar contract to play first base in the MLB.
The highest paid player in baseball today is New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who signed a 10-year deal worth 270 million dollars in 2007. Last season A-Rod hit .270 with 30 home runs and 141 RBIs at the age of 35.
In 2010 Pujols hit .312 with 42 home runs and 118 RBIs. His numbers are favorably comparable to the highest paid player in the game, so it makes sense for The Machine to wants to take the crown from Rodriguez.
“Ten years ago we said giving A-Rod 252 million [with the Texas Rangers] was the craziest thing to ever happen,” junior Angelo State pitcher Matt Rechkammer said. “It’s really not a very outlandish thing to accept that someone would give one player that much money.”
Pujol’s eight-year, 111 million dollar contract expires at the end of the 2011 season. With St. Louis, he has been a three-time MVP, a six-time silver slugger, a nine-time all-star, won two golden gloves and helped the Cardinals win a World Series in 2006. There is not much doubt he is due a substantial pay day, but he’s 31 so there is concern whether or not he can keep playing well in to his early forties.
Ken Griffey Jr. hit over .300 in seven of his first 10 seasons in the MLB. He took home seven Silver Slugger awards, nine Golden Gloves, was a nine-time all-star and was the MVP in 1997. Two years later Griffey signed a nine-year, 112.5 million dollar deal with Cincinnati Reds. After Junior’s first 10 years in the League, he hit over .300 only once and was selected to four all-star games in fourteen years. He retired at 41 last season after appearing in 33 games for the Seattle Mariners. Age caught up to Griffey and injuries slowed him down. People are worried the same thing could happen to Pujols.
How the 10-year contract would be spread out is a big question. It’s doubtful it will be 30 million dollars per year, but the specifics have not been released.
Angelo State Head Baseball Coach Kevin Brooks said he does not think that is the case with Albert. “I doubt he’s asking for that,” Brooks said. “No one player is worth that much money.”
Rechkammer said some of the money The Machine wants from the Cardinals could be used elsewhere.
“I think a team’s ace pitcher is going to determine whether that team is a World Series team or not, rather than one hitter in the lineup,” Rechkammer said. “Even if he was to get paid 250 million… that 50 million could go to get a lot of good draft picks, a lot of young prospects and probably a guy you can stick in your starting rotation.”
Albert has halted contract negotiations for the duration of the season so he can focus on playing baseball. Talking will resume in the offseason, so his performance this year could affect the Cardinal’s resiliency to drop the 300 million on the first baseman.