Cardinals shows some sanity amidst all of this money madness

The St. Louis Cardinals didn’t cave in to superstar Albert Pujols. They didn’t feel like it was in their best interest to dole out a $300,000,000, 10-year contract to a 31-year-old who has one year left on his contrct. They couldn’t make a deal on an extension before Pujols’ self-imposed deadline on Wednesday. The Cardinals reportedly offered a deal that would have paid Pujols $27 million to $30 million a year over a six or seven-year period. Those figures may or may not be accurate. Only St. Louis management and Pujols know for sure.

Granted, Pujols will probably go down in history as the greatest first baseman in baseball history. Yeah, even better than Lou Gehrig. But I think the Cardinals did the right thing.

I don’t blame Pujols for asking for the bank, and he deserves to be the highest-paid player in baseball. And he will be if he tests the free-agent market next season. I feel bad for Cardinals fans. It would be cool for Albert to finish his career in St. Louis, but how many great years does he have left — four, five, maybe six? And there’s no guarantee he stays a healthy. Sure, he’s averaged 155 games a season, but he’s had elbow surgery and some back issues.

So 3-time MVP Pujols will have to get by on $16 million this season, chump change in this crazy baseball world we live in. Hey, Milton Bradley’s collecting $12 million from the M’s this season. Alex Rodriguez is currently the game’s highest-paid player, making $275 million over 10 years. A-Lot was originally lured away from the Mariners by Texas when owner Tom Hicks signed waved a  quarter-billion deal ($252,000,000, but who’s quibbling over a measly $2 mil these days) in his face. That’s more money than Hicks bought the franchise for. Hicks wound up selling the Texas franchise in bankruptcy court last year.

A decade later, this is what Hicks said about his decision to give Rodriguez all that money:

“I’ve done some smart things. I’ve done some dumb things. That was one of the dumb things.”

Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt, in this instance, made the right call. Hopefully, both sides will be able to come to some sort of middle ground and the Cardinals will keep Pujols around for the rest of his career, but not at $30 million a year for 10 years. That’s just plain dumb.

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