Arguably the best right-handed hitter in baseball history, Albert Pujols is worth some money - to say the least. The St. Louis first baseman is heading into the final year of a seven-year deal signed in 2004 that accorded him $14.5 million per season. The best player in the game, walking into the final year of his deal. Now, there's something to talk about.
It would behoove the St. Louis Cardinals to lock up their 9x All-Star. Drafted in the 13rd round of the 1999 draft, Pujols has amassed a staggering 408 hr and 1,230 rbi over the first ten years of his career. Unfortunately for St. Louis, production like that doesn't come for cheep. Pujols has reportedly asked for a deal worth 10 years and $300 million, which would trump A-Rod's 10-year $275 million deal signed in the fall of 2007.
The 2x Gold Glove Award recipient has stated that he will not accept any trade proposals. Therefore, the only alternative to a contract extension would be free agency.
If the St. Louis Cardinals fail to sign their best player, the franchise as a whole would be taking a major hit. Notwithstanding his evident on-field production, Pujols also represents one of the only great sluggers who remained "clean" throughout the steroid era (knock on wood). If he continues his unprecedented consistency, Pujols will go down as one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history. In other words, the Cardinals need this guy.
Although it seems logical that St. Louis would have spent years preparing an enticing offer for their 31-year-old star, the two sides are reportedly not close to a deal. Despite Pujols having the numbers to warrant the largest contract in MLB history, the Cardinals are reluctant to sign him to anything more than a six or seven-year deal.
Whatever happens, the St. Louis Cardinals need this deal more than the NFL needs a collective bargaining agreement. Well, almost as much. Even if they need to go to eight or ten years, Albert Pujols is worth every cent. The Cooperstown-bound slugger is the best player in the game, and its not even close.