As we walk into the end of Albert Pujols' negotiating period, there are three human beings that I blame for this debacle: David Montgomery (Phillies CEO that signed Ryan Howard), Tom Hicks (the former Rangers CEO that ruined his team by signing A-Rod), and Scott Boras (super agent that gets his players more money than they're worth because baseball money isn't real money and owners aren't smart enough to say when enough is enough). I could blame Marvin Miller and the players unions, but let's be honest; they were a reaction to the Charles Commiskeys of the baseball world who wouldn't pay players what they were worth. I can't blame Jim "Catfish" Hunter since he got what he deserved out of a situation where he could get the money. I can't blame Curt Flood because I wouldn't want to go to a racist city like Philadelphia either and deal with the things that he would have put up with had his trade gone through.
That said, I have to blame someone, so let's blame the guy who signed first baseman Ryan Howard to 5 years and $139million. As soon as the deal was inked out, Albert Pujols became worth twice that much money. Is it any wonder that Tony Larussa would see the baseball union as having the chance to drive up the maximum salary in baseball as it fairly sees Pujols as a $30million+ man? The reality is that Pujols is great. He is St. Louis (the team and the city). He is the greatest and most consistent player in baseball. While we had injury worries a few years ago, it was a blip in the radar from a man who has hit .300 every year. He has 30 home runs and 100 RBIs every year. In 2007, he had a "crappy" year since he didn't get 100 runs (only 99). Every other year of his career, he did. Not including his rookie season of 93 Ks (in almost 700 at bats), he has only had 1 season of over 70 strikeouts (76), which was last year. The man is a machine and he wants $300 million for 10 years - not $200million+ for 8.
Is he worth it? If we had baseball money to pay for it, we'd pay. After all, David Montgomery gave $25million to a guy with 1 season of more home runs (58) than Pujols best total (49). Sure, Pujols has only 3 seasons over 130 RBIs (and never more than 140). Ryan Howard has 4 and 3 of these were league leading totals in the 140s. Is this as much Ryan Howard as batting around Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jason Werth, and Pat Burrell batting in front of him or because he's just a big bopper?
The reality is that Howard's stats aren't that INCREDIBLE other than the magical 2006. He has not hit and totaled 180 strikeouts or more in 4 strikeouts. Last year, he missed this due to injury. He has 1 .300 season in 2006. I'm not saying he's a chump, but I am saying that he's not worth the money he got, but Philadelphia needs a hero, and I guess he'll work if you're so inclined to like the team.
But that said, on a day where Cardinals fans wonder if this will be a triple crown year as Albert walks to Anaheim, New York (either team), Boston, or some other magical team that feels $300 million is chump change... and there will be suitors. This guy for a solid team means division victory and October surprises.
For all of the money given to Matt Holliday (7 years, $120million), not paying Albert... dumb, dumb, dumb. If this is the 1st .400 season since Ted Williams, won't the Cardinals being crying in their Busch beer as Pujols packs his one man show up for a contender? Dumb, dumb, dumb.