Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cards and Pujols Fail to Reach Deal

Reading through all of the articles and analysis on the issue I have noticed that a few key things aren't really being mentioned.  Everyone seems to be in agreement that Albert Pujols is, without question, the best player in the game right now.  The debate seems to be over whether the Cards are holding out and just not willing to pay him what he is worth or if Pujols is being greedy.  I think both of those statements are a bit narrow minded.
As I discussed in the post Labor and Capital each player has a value of skills and their demands are based on how easily those skills can be replaced with other players.  With that thought in mind it is not a logical conclusion that Pujols is being a greedy SOB.  If the rumors are correct and he is asking for a top 5 MLB salary, some where between $25-$30 million, he is just in doing so.  No other player in the history of professional baseball has done as much as he has in their first 10 years. He very well could progress to become the best player of all time. If he continues at this rate even with considerations for decline with age, his name will belong with Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
On the flip side of that, the Cards not offering a $25+million/ year contract doesn't mean they are being cheap.  Looking at the city of St. Louis it is amazing they can afford as much as they can, but their fan base is extremely loyal and strong.  However to promise Pujols that kind of money would be a major burden on their finances, where they already seem to pay beyond what their market should be able to support.  According to Forbes last year the Cards had a revenue of $194 million.  That is just revenue, not profit.  That is before taking out the $109 million in player contracts and bonuses payed out last year, before figuring in stadium upkeep, etc.  Based on those figures if they where to pay him that kind of money that would be roughly 13% of all money they brought in last year. From a business stand point that doesn't make much sense.
So to me the question isn't is Pujols being a greedy jerk. It also isn't are the Cards being too cheap with the face of their franchise.  The question is, how much risk should a team be willing to tie up in one player?

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