A couple weeks ago, while visiting St. Louis. I made some controversial comments about Albert Pujols to the local TV stations. I said that if you're a Cardinals fan, you want to root for Albert Pujols to do as badly as possible over the next two months.
Fans reacted the way I thought they would. Are you crazy? Nope. I'm right on.
It's not common sense for the short term, but it's good news in the long run that Pujols is now out for four to six weeks with a wrist injury.
Talk to me all you want about how Pujols is a man of his word, but he and his agent Dan Lozano are dumb if they think that a slow start and now this injury doesn't change his stance of not negotiating with the Cardinals.
That promise to explore free agency after the season, that he made in Spring Training after he didn't like the Cardinals offer, only made sense to him financially if his production at least came close to matching his last decade.
Sure, Pujols had picked it up recently before he got injured, but now he has the pressure of having a great end of the season if he wants to get paid the north of $27.5 million a season he was looking for.
If he doesn't play well, not only will he get get closer to what the Cardinals offered in February of about $25 million a year, but the true loss will likely be in fewer years tacked onto the contract.
I'm guessing Pujols would just get six-year offers instead of the eight years that he would have gotten from the Cardinals before the season. That's a potential $50 million loss.
The best home for Pujols outside the Cardinals might be at the archrival Chicago Cubs, who can presumably pay him with the potential to start their own TV network, and need him now more than ever before with attendance finally falling at Wrigley. But the Cubs number will come in lower if Pujols doesn't close out the season strong — remember, they already got burned by Derrek Lee's wrist injury.
Not only that, the more Pujols' future is questioned, the smaller the gap between a Cubs offer and a Cardinals offer will be. What does that mean? Well, it means that Pujols has more to consider because even if the Cubs offer more than the Cardinals, it would have to be more than $15 million more if Pujols wants it to be at a net positive.
Why? Because if he signs with the Cubs, he'll ruin all the future revenue he had waiting for him in appearances and autograph signings in St. Louis for the rest of his life. So what does Pujols and Lozano have to gain by doing a deal now?
Well, they get some good will money that they won't if they wait to see if they can cash in on free agency instead. If they do the deal now, they might be able to get $27 million and seven years. If they don't, and try and wait it out to see if Pujols can return to form and he doesn't come through, it will be the Cardinals and not Pujols who will be giving out the "Home Town Discount."
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