Albert Pujols is Gumming Up the MLB Transaction Works

Albert Pujols needs to make a decision.

According to multiple reports, the big-time free agent first baseman has a couple 10-year, $200+ million offers from the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as a short-term offer from the Chicago Cubs, and a possible fourth offer from the ever-lurking (and usually fictitious) “mystery team.” And Pujols’ failure to make a decision on one of those offers is probably causing issues for teams all around baseball.

In other words, upon reflection on the lack of moves so far league-wide (this week was supposed to be one of the most active Winter Meetings in recent memory), I can only conclude: Pujols is holding everything up.

Not only are a handful of teams waiting directly on him, but several free agents who want to land with those teams are waiting to know if the team will have the money or the position for them. And other teams who want those players then also have to wait. And teams are waiting on possible trades with the Marlins. And Prince Fielder is waiting on Pujols to set the market. And various teams are waiting on Fielder. And other players are waiting on the teams that are waiting on Fielder. And various free agent pitchers are waiting on the Marlins. And various other teams are waiting on those pitchers. … I could go on and on.

No team wants to lock into anything now until they know who’s going to be available, and at what price. A lot of those dominoes are preceded by Pujols, and it bleeds into teams that aren’t even remotely interested in Pujols. Coming into the Meetings, few believed there was any chance Pujols would not be returning to St. Louis, and teams thus planned accordingly. Now everything is all out of whack.

An extreme example (of the thought experiment variety, not the actual rumor variety) of how Pujols’ decision holds up the Cubs? The Cubs can’t trade for Chase Headley until Pujols signs. Why? If Pujols goes to the Marlins, they might make Matt Dominguez available for Carlos Zambrano and a bunch of cash. Maybe the Cubs would prefer that to Headley. Maybe not. But they won’t know for sure until those discussions can take place, and those discussions can’t take place until Pujols signs.

You could concoct this kind of example for literally every other team in baseball.

In short: Albert Pujols needs to make a decision. Until he does, or at least makes clear what direction he’s eventually going to end up going, it seems like moves around the game – and in Chicago – are going to be restricted.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

51 responses to “Albert Pujols is Gumming Up the MLB Transaction Works”

  1. Fishin Phil

    Latest Card offer I heard was 10 years/ $220 M.  Go ahead Albert, take that and saddle the Cards with an untenable contract for the next decade.  Then we can all go about our business.

    Okay, thanks!

  2. john

    It is becoming pretty obvious that Pujols wanted a bigger contract from St. Louis
    He really believed 30 mil per was possible. Now he will be lucky to average 23 mil per

  3. chris margetis

    I think the Cubs are still being mentioned as they have probably offered $30 mill per year for a shorter term and everyone is saying the per year is the big deal for him personally. Does that make them a realistic candidate for him?

    1. nonesuch

      I think AP wants both, the $30 mill and a long term deal from Cards. He’ll have to choose fewer dollars/longer deal or higher $/shorter deal. He’ll probably stay with the comfort of StL. It’s a real long shot he chooses Cubs offer.

    2. Hawkeye

      I am with you on this one Chris.   If the Cubs really did come to the table with $30MM per year for 5 years, he has to seriously be considering that.   For those first five years, he would make $40MM more (assuming the next best offer is $22MM per year).   And you are correct, he could easily compensate for the difference.   If he is still hitting and on the verge of breaking several careers records mark, many teams will line up to have that stadium draw on a nightly basis, not to mention the national media spotlight.   You have to think that a small part of Albert’s ego has him wanting to be the highest per year player ever.   If he signs a 10 year deal, he will not be the highest total contract ever nor the highest annual contract ever.   I think he wants paid and wants to be at the top.   The Cubs may have a serious shot at him.   I believe if we weren’t the Cardinals biggest rivalry, he would have already accepted the deal.

      1. Cerambam

        i think your totally right, but like you said if he takes the 5/30 he would have to make up about 60-70m over 5 years to equal the total value of the proposed marlins/cardinals contracts. NO doubt a team would give pujols a contract in 5 years(maybe haha) but do you think a team is going to give him the 10m per year for 5 year type deal that he would need?

        1. Hawkeye

          If he were to accept the $$30MM per year deal, he would need to sign another deal in five years worth around $10-12MM per year.   I think that if he is still hitting, many AL teams would pick him up as a DH for that amount of money.   Thats pretty cheap for a DH that will break records every time he steps to the plate.   Both deals are risks for him.  He has to decide which risk he would rather take on.

  4. john

    Cubs should match Arod plus $1 for 5 year offer to Pujols

  5. john

    If Cubs offered 150 mil for 5 that leaves 70 mil for 5. He would be fool not to accept.
    His last 5 years are a money bonanza for whoever gets him easily worth 5/100

  6. Stinky Pete

    Doesn’t arod have some goofy stipulation that if someone is paid more, his salary automatically tops that?  If so, both of their contracts would be infinite.  Far out….

  7. die hard

    Fielder should be worried too as appears to be buyer’s market even with so few impact FA available. Maybe contract offered to Pujols is incentive laden at back end? If so, that could be why hes balking. I still believe both would jump if an AL team made considerable offer. Also if Houston could make do with Lee in OF for one year, then hes DH in 2013 and until contract expires. Either Pujols or Fielder could take over DH afterwards.

    1. hansman1982

      I think Pujols will remain a Cardinal and odds are that in year 6-7 he will restructure to get a long term payout or ownership shares when he retires

  8. Toosh

    F—ing Pujols! F—ing Cardinals! There, I feel better now, haven’t said that for a while.

  9. Mike Foster

    IMHO Theo and company don’t have to match the 9 or 10 year thing. Someone else already said this but I think it needs repeating, only signing with the Cubs and bringing a WS win to Chicago can propel Albert to the top of the baseball legends list. So offer him 5 or 6 years at the same money as St. Louis and I think Albert has to take a long hard look at it. I say if he has anything left in the tank, he takes a deal like that, and if he doesn’t take it, he coasts into the sunset and rests on his current resume.

    On Fielder, if Albert keeps stalling I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Fielder deal before Pujols signs. Money and ego, who wants to come out of this looking good and paid well, that’s the job of the agent.

    1. Pat

      Winning in Chicago isn’t going to make him more of a legend than he already will be, except in Chicago.

      1. Mike Foster

        So being THE player that pushes the Cubs to break a 100 year drought wouldn’t have any MLB history effect, except in Chicago? Riiiiiight!

        1. hansman1982

          He is already going down as one of the greatest hitters of all time right up there with Ruth, DiMaggio, Williams, etc… and with two rings already and what will be a brand new team by the time we contend, he wont be THE player, just one of the crew that put us over the top.

        2. Pat

          Mike, I really don’t think it will. The Red Sox drought, although not as long, was probably even more famous. Do you really think that in another five years anyone outside of Boston will care who was on the 2004 team that broke the drought?

          The truth is that just like Boston, as soon as the Cubs win a world series the story of the 100+ years it took to do it becomes incredibly uninteresting to anyone outside of Chicago (except for reloacted Cubs fans).

          1. Luke

            You really think Curt Schilling and the Legend of the Bloody Sock is going to fade? That baseball fans for any team are going to forget The Stolen Base or the only team to come back from down 3-0 in a best of 7? I have serious doubts about that.

            Five years from now half the city of Boston will claim they were in the ballpark when Schilling struck out 28 despite having one leg amputated at the knee ten minutes before game time.

            1. Pat

              Sure, in Boston it will remain famous. Out side of Boston no one really cares. I certainly don’t. It’s a public interest story at the time. Then it ends. Your mention of Schilling’s sock is the first time I’ve seen or heard it spoken of in five years at least.

              It’s a world series championship. They happen every year (minus 94). When the Cubs win theirs, it will be a huge deal in Chicago, especially that first off-season. The players that win it will be immortalized, in Chicago. That’s about it. The rotation of the earth isn’t going to change. History shows us. Shit happpens and then people move on.

              As for “the stolen base”, I have no idea what you’re talking about and I did watch the entire series. A year later I may have been able to recall the exact play you reference, but seven years later? No clue. Don’t care. It was a world series that happened years ago that didn’t involve my team.

  10. nonesuch

    sign it already, Albert. some of us need to get some work done.

  11. fester30
    1. Spencer

      maybe its the other way around.

  12. JB88

    Pena rejects arbitration. Another comp pick for the Cubs!

    @Jon_Heyman
    Jon Heyman Carlos pena has decided he will NOT accept arbitration. #cubs

  13. Matt

    I think it will be resolved today, but that could just be wishful thinking.

    If he prefers 5/30 why wouldn’t the cards be able to match that?

    I think anyone who can afford $30/yr would prefer the 5 year deal anyway.

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  15. die hard

    Ramirez may be a bigger cause of logjam as he offers teams another 1B/DH choice. Consensus may be he cant play 3B anymore. Teams in mix for Pujols and Fielder may be using Aram as basis for threat to walk away from negotiations.

    1. TWC

      You’ve really got no filter there, do ya, kid?

      1. die hard

        If you check back will see that I suggested Seattle looking at Fielder given GM’s relationship with him and Smoak as possibility for Cubs long before these ideas appeared on any blog sites. Thinking outside box doesnt hurt. Should try it sometime

        1. Paul

          we must have different boxes that we think from

        2. TWC

          ::pats die hard on the head::

          I’m proud of you, honey.  Why don’t you go play outside for a while?

        3. bhannon

          just fyi its been reported seattle is not only not the front runner but is not involved w/ fielder at all…

    2. Paul

      To die hard,
      I think I will just save this post, and keep it on file as a response to all of your posts

      WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT !!!!!!

      1. ferrets_bueller

        lmfao! This.

    3. JB88

      How does one equivocate on a supposed “consensus”?

    4. Cardfan

      Oh my!  The “consensus” from our camp is that we are glad Die Hard is one of yours! Ramirez…logjam?…the only type of log he resembles with that contract is the one floating in the bowl in the bathroom.

  16. hardtop

    god, i would just love to pull that stupid chain tight around his stupid neck and pull until his stupid head falls off.  stupid poohole, stupid cards.  how does this beauty queen end up hurting the cubs during the season and the off season? damn!

    that being said…

    c’mon albert, do you really want to be playing baseball, poorly, in 8 years (when you’re 45)? no, of course you don’t.  come play for us for 5 years, cash your 150 million check,  strap on your neon thong, and enjoy your retirement.  think about all the pina coladas and frozen margaritas you’ll be missing out on if you sign a long term deal.  not to mention chicago is such a great city.. there is a jeweler, a pedicurist, and a waxing professional on every street corner… youll be in heaven.

  17. Deez

    No one’s offering Pujols over $22M/yr!?
    If you bump it up to $150M even at 5yrs, you’re only out bidding yourself.
    Even worse…
    Marlins are offering him tons of “deferred money.”
    He’s going to have to settle for making “LESS” than Howard & Texiera!
    I know he has the wrong agent!
    Boras would have got him his money, PERIOD!
    If we offer him 5yrs at $26.5M per w/ a 6yr at $28M or a $15M buyout, I think someone has him.

    1. Rancelot

      Yeah, I find that so hard to believe that Pujols would settle for a deal that makes him the 3rd highest paid 1B annually. Years are fine but for a player that is being revered as one of the best to ever play the game to not receive a record breaking contract makes no sense to me. Didn’t A-Rod get a 10 year $252 million 10 years ago???

  18. Deez

    You do have a point, but would you want “deferred money” when you can (or should) get more?
    Although, no tax income tax in FL helps, but w/ the Rangers bankruptcy, we see what can happen w/ “deferred money.”
    Also, the Marlins are pretty much making it known that if we don’t win in 4yrs, he’s gone to the highest bidder.

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