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Monday, December 12, 2011

Deirdre Pujols: “The City Of St. Louis Has Absolutely Been Deceived”

Several versions of this interview with Deidre Pujols, wife of slugger Albert, have appeared on the Interwebz, but I'm linking to the NBC Sports version because it contains all the key pieces you need to know. In particular:
“I understand you’re talking to us, then one TV station, and that’s about it,” is how Sandi Brown, morning show host at 99.1 Joy FM in St. Louis, opened her conversation Monday with Deidre Pujols, the wife of new Angels first baseman Albert Pujols.

“This is the moment of truth for us,” Deidre replied. “Four days have passed and most people are probably sick of hearing our name by now, but I’m ready to let people have our side of what has happened and be able to make better judgements.”


“When you have somebody say, ‘we want you to be a Cardinal for life,’ and then only offer you a five-year deal, it kind of confused us,” said Deidre, calling the offer an “insult.”

So, tainted by that "insult" offer, and a subsequent arrangement that would have deferred $30M of his salary (the Angels' deal is 100% current with no deferments), Pujols eventually decided to become an Angel. This annoys me to some degree, because Pujols' decline is already to some degree evident. I am not convinced the back half of his deal will be of any value to the team that likely just signed the final contract of his career. However you may feel about that, it's a business decision, and we'll see whether Pujols becomes synonymous with Mo Vaughn or some of the other expensive free agent disasters in Angels history.

Related: Scott Miller of CBS Sports tweets that Pujols is contracted to the Angels for the first decade past his presumptive retirement when this contract ends. Yow.

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Wait, you mean to tell me that you're pessimistic about this? Stop the presses! :)

Elite hitters tend to age pretty well. I'm not sure anyone can really and truly value a contract properly, so unless he gets hurt of falls off a cliff, it will tough to say it wasn't worth it. If it produces only one World Series title, it's probably worth it, considering they've only had one in 50 years. And if Vernon Wells is any indication, one bad contract won't stop Arte from spending money a few years down the road.
Yes, I know, Seitz, and while I do recognize that truly great hitters (within certain parameters -- speed/average/power guys age the best) have much longer careers than typical major leaguers, Pujols' decline is disturbing if you look at his similarity scores by age at Baseball-Reference. He's experiencing some very big declines right now, and as a first baseman, he's a lot less mobile than, say, Joe DiMaggio or Ken Griffey, Jr.
I don't know. A guy who breaks his wrist on a freak injury (unless there's something to do with age that makes guys get hit by pitches), misses only 15 games, and still ends up with an OPS+ of 150 doesn't look like much of a decline to me. Hell, he "declined" to an OPS+ better than any Angel has put up since 2005! Considering his 2010 season was better than his 2005, 2006, and 2007 seasons, you're only talking about a decline from an EXTREMELY high baseline. He "declined" all the way to an OPS+ much better than anyone else on the Angels last year. If you want to ignore context, 2011 looks like a decline. Factor in the injury (from which he returned much earlier than expected) and it still looks pretty damn good. How's his mobility compare to Hank Aaron? Or first baseman like Lou Gherig and Jimmy Foxx?

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