Good morning! Did you sleep well, out there on the West Coast? The best player of our generation is now on another team. Also, there was a Rule 5 Draft. But back to the Albert Pujols thing.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, the deal -- reported to be at least $250 million over ten years -- is the third deal to crack $200 million in baseball history. The first was Alex Rodriguez, and the second was ... Alex Rodriguez.
The first contract A-Rod received came when the Rangers signed him after the 2000 season for ten years and $252 million. The crazy thing was, he was actually worth that deal, as much as a player can be worth a quarter-billion dollars for a franchise. Over those ten years, A-Rod 424 home runs, played in an average of 151 games, and hit .299/.394/577. He also probably could have stuck at shortstop for a majority of those games if he wasn't traded to the Yankees. It was an insane contract, but it was an insane player.
When the Rangers traded Rodriguez away, though, they actually paid for the privilege. They paid $67 million to the New York Freaking Yankees to take away the best player on the team. Amazing.
Even more amazing: Rodriguez had an opt-out clause of his ridiculous contract, and he used it to get an even more ridiculous contract: ten years, $275 million, with up to $30 million in marketing bonuses as he approaches the all-time home run record. Rodriguez is still owed a minimum of $143 million over the next six seasons, and his production is drooping. His OPS is down over 200 points from its peak, and he's missed time with injuries for the fourth season in a row.
The difference between the two? The first contract was signed before he was 25. The second was when he was 32. Albert Pujols doesn't have peers, exactly, but the closest comparison we can make is A-Rod when he was in his early-30s. And the Yankees got two seasons, maybe three, before they had a sick feeling that the contract wasn't going to work out. I'm sure they expected some decline, but not that quickly.
It's a cautionary tale for the Angels, but here's the other thing: For the next couple of years, at least, they're right not to care. They contended this season with Vernon Wells making this kind of money; they'll figure out a way to do the same if Pujols starts to skip down that path in eight years. And in the near future -- Albert Pujols! The Angels have Albert Pujols. Crazy. Expensive.
To recap: a ten-year deal to a 25-year-old shortstop? Okay. A ten-year-deal to a thirty-something corner guy? Slightly insane. If there's anyone who could buck the trend, it would be an all-time great like Albert Pujols. Or Alex Rodriguez. But I'm sure the Angels and fans aren't exactly concerned with 2020 right now.