Albert metrics – It’s not about the money?

By Gary Kodner

Thursday April 7, 2016 (Rangers vs. Angels): With 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Texas Rangers chose to intentionally walk Mike Trout with the game on the line, in favor of pitching to Albert Pujols. Albert bounced one over the left-field fence and delivered an Angels 4-3 victory. It barely got noticed.

December, 2011: “Do I want to be in St. Louis forever? Of course. People from other teams want to play in St. Louis, and they’re jealous that we’re in St. Louis because the fans are unbelievable. So why would you want to leave a place like St. Louis to go somewhere else and make $3 million or $4 more million a year? It’s not about the money.” – Albert Pujols

And at the time, I bought it.

How about this one: “I play to represent God, something bigger than baseball”

In December, 2011 Albert Pujols signed a lucrative, 10-year, $240 million (guaranteed) contract to play for the Los angeles Angels.

But wait, there’s more!

It included bonus and incentives:

– $875k Bonus per year (just for showing up)

– $3 million if he reaches 3000 hits (only needs to average 56 hits in his remaining 6 yrs to reach that plateau)

– $10 million for “Personal Services” (Who knows what that is?)

– $50 thousand for each All-Star Team appearance (accomplished that twice so far)

– $7 million if he breaks the MLB all-time HR record – (needs to average 33 per season for the next 6 years) probably will not happen. Although, his current 162 game avg. is 40 home runs.

Pujols’ 4 years with the Angels vs. Cardinals (combined) first basemen:

2012: Pujols .285 avg. 30 HR. Cardinals .292 avg. 26 HR

2013: Pujols .258 avg. 17 HR.* Cardinals .283 avg. 17 HR, *2013 Pujols played half-season due to injury

2014: Pujols .272 avg. 28 HR. Cardinals .285 avg. 15 HR

2015: Pujols .244 avg. 40 HR. Cardinals .236 avg. 18 HR

Cardinals first basemen (since Albert): Allen Craig, Lance Berkman, Matt Adams, Ty Wigginton, Xavier Scruggs, Brandon Moss, Matt Reynolds, Dan Johnson, Matt Holliday

So who really benefits? Albert? Albert’s agent?, DeDe Pujols? Angels owner Arte Moreno? Cardinals Nation?

All the above. Not God.

Angels owner Arte Moreno cashed in big. In Dec. 2011 (in conjunction with signing Pujols), he simultaneously signed a TV deal with FOX worth 3 billion dollars. Pujols’ $240 million and incentives are easily expensed against that deal. The Cardinals, despite what Albert has done or will do with the Angels, had him for the best 11 seasons of his career and paid him below market value for it. Cardinals owners and fans have returned to the postseason each of the 4 years without Pujols. They are the winningest team in the NL over that span. They also picked up Michael Wacha as a compensation pick, but have not won the World Series since Pujols’ departure. I think the Cardinals fans lose out on watching the milestones he will accomplish and seeing another great player retire wearing the “Birds on Bat”. Curiously, the Cardinals have not allowed another player to wear number 5.

Albert told us he is “playing for God.” Hey, maybe that’s why he chose the Angels. I think God would have chosen St. Louis over Anaheim. Pujols could have had that rare chance to become a Cardinals immortal, alongside Musial, Gibson, Brock and Ozzie. But instead he answered to a greater calling… his pride and his money.