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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Oops, righthander.

He wrote, referring to the since-edited post.

Minor league deal? Why not. I don't have high hopes. He's got shoulder issues and confidence issues. His velocity is way down.

But who knows?

Bay Slugga in the last thread noted sabermetric measures that can determine whether a player is overpaid or not.

The problem with that is the value of a player isn't strictly statistical.

Does the player sell tickets? Is he the face of the franchise? Is Derek Jeter's value to the Yankees far above his value on the field?

Clout: Agreed. In fact, in Pujols' case even the sabermetrics folks are saying just by on-the-field performance alone Albert is worth $30 mil AAV....not even counting the stuff you're talking about...that makes the Cardinals look even worse.

clout, all good points, and all things that need to be considered for a team that signs him.

I wonder if Pujols becomes a FA whether he'll sign with the Cubs just to spite Dewitt, who, it seems to me, really isn't serious about extending Pujols contract.

Buster Olney had an interesting radio interview about the situation, and named some teams that might bid for Pujols that I hadn't thought of, in order to generated (or re-generate) excitement for their franchises.

The Mets (with a cash infusion or team sale) and the Dodgers (McCourt forced to sell and new owner want to make splash) were two teams he mentioned I didn't have on my list.

It would, indeed, be a great way to generate fan interest.

Just look what the Cliff Lee signing did here in Philly.

Maine could compete for being the best back-up option for the best back-up option to the best fifth starter in baseball. How could ya want any more than that?

Heather, as we discussed, the more I hear and read, I have doubts about whether the Cardinals were ever serious about extending Pujols.

Awww, did you see, KO-Rod, the biggest douchbag on a team filled with them, has asked the fans for "forgiveness".

How sweet.

I'll say this much about the Wilpons:

If they let KO-Rod finish 55 games and vest that $17.5MM option for 2012, they'll be able to use that fact in court.

Any owners idiotic enough to do that for this particular player definitely is/was too stupid to have known better in the Madoff Ponzi scheme.

awh: Can you imagine!?!? At that point, the Mets fans could sue claiming the Mets franchise is one big ponzi scheme.

Metsblog is convinced the Phils are signing Maine for one reason and one reason only... to screw with the Mets.

Yep... that's gotta be it.

If that's the case, i'm ok with it.

Yeah, me too :-)

***"Opening up at $19-21 million per year is an insult to a guy that has been the best player on earth for the past decade and one of the best in history."

NEPP, the reason I posted Henry Aaron's numbers is so that they could be compared to Pujols.

I looked at some other players as well, like Willie Mays, but Aaron's were pretty much the best.

Pujols has, at least through the first 10 yrs, been that much better, though we're in an era of more offense so on a relative scale Aaron might grade out better.

We may not see someone as good as Pujols for the rest of out lives.

Posted by: awh | Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 04:41 PM

Yeah, he's basically comparable or even better than Aaron. I'd put him as the best hitter since Ted Williams personally.

OPS+ through Age 30:
Albert Pujols: 172
Hank Aaron: 157
Ted Williams: 195
Willie Mays: 157
Mickey Mantle: 176

I'm not basing my opinion on OPS+ but just tossing this out there as its an easy tool for comparison.

Mantle is underrated at times I think...simply because he burned out early.

As for John Maine...count me in as thinking its a good idea by Rube.

Another long RH reliever. Can't have too many of those.

The Cardinals have PLENTY of money. Their local ratings are in the top 3 in all of baseball. They have excellent attendance. They are a regional draw. He'll, Holliday even offered to defer more salary to facilitate a deal. The fact that they seem to be approaching these negotiations with the intent of lowballing their franchise player (the best "clean" player of the last 50 years?) is an insult to their fans. People really do forget that the Phils had a payroll lower than the Cards when they won the WS in 08. They responded by rewarding the fanbase with a massive extension of payroll and a commitment to winning never seen before in this city. The Cards have rewarded their fanbase by refusing to go over an arbitrary payroll threshold due to the adverse effect this would have on profits. If I was a Cards fan and Pujols walked as a FA next year, I would be mutinous.

To put it mildly, the Cards are cheap. I'd put them up with our ownership pre CBP.

Ridiculously cheap yet they have "the best fans in baseball". Perhaps if they weren't so "loyal", the owners would actually spend money to keep the team together.

Yankees pitchers weight as a zero sum game. Love it.

In 2008 the Phils were roughly the equivalent of the Blue Jays payroll-wise, right around the middle of the pack. After the obvious ones like the Sox + Yankees, the Phils were also outspent by the Cards, Braves, Mariners, Tigers, White Sox, Mets, Angels, Dodgers, and Cubs. They spent $300K more than the Jays that year.

Since then, they have nearly doubled their payroll. The Cards actually spent 5 mil less in 2010 than they did in 08. It's impossible for a team like the Phils to boost their payroll that much and still remain profitable while the Cards are spending millions less than they did in 08 and claim they don't have the money to sign Pujols. Either they have no intention of re-signing him or they are really expecting him to accept a below-market deal even after he hits FA.

Either way, the fans in St. Louis should be livid. RAJ and the Phils' FO may overpay in certain situations for certain players, but since this run started they NEVER let someone they really want get away. The Cards just thwopped their entire fanbase.

Baseball Heaven.

The Cardinals would likely suck for the length of Pujols' contract if they paid him as much as he wants.

Should have been more clear in the previous thread -- that's what the Cards are telling Pujols, not my thinking.

Re: John Maine. Since the Phillies seem to have a lot of starting pitching options, do you think MAYBE they want to sign Maine, stash him in the minors where they hope he performs well, then dangle him as trade bait?

Just a thought.

That reported $19M-$21M figure, if real, is completely insulting to Pujols. $25M would've been a lowball offer.

If I'm Pujols and his agents, I don't consider any offer unless the average annual value begins with a 3.

Am I the only one that would rather have Podsednik as the LF & leadoff man rather than Ibanez? Man he came on the cheap a minor league deal & 1 mil if he makes the team

The Cards crying poverty is a joke. They have a huge area to draw from, they sell a TON of tickets and have a brand new stadium.

I'd rather have Ibanez than Podsednik...I'd like Pods as a 4th OF type though.

Posednik can steal bases & he'll hit for high average if you catch him in the right year. But that's about it for his skill set. Even if we assume some further drop-off from Ibanez this year, he's still a much better player than Posednik.

pb- I'm willing to guess that the answer to that question is yes, you are the only one.

Pods has zero power, doesn't get on base often, and is a defensive liability. His 1 redeeming quality as a leadoff hitter is his speed, but this is outweighed by the fact that he gets caught stealing A LOT. Like NEPP said, he's a quality 4th/5th OF, but not a leadoff hitter for a contending team.

The Cards could easily have a payroll around the level of the Cubs. The fact that they constantly demand home-town discounts from star players is a joke.

Cards are super cheap. What were they just bought for? $120 million and then the owner turned around and sold a parking garage that was part of the deal for $30 million? They should give him the deal. With inflation those past few years might only feel like $25 million in 2011 dollars if that helps.

Perhaps an

Clout: Please prove that star players on losing teams sell tickets. Thanks in advance.

Now, I agree Pujols is worth just about anything you can pay him. But based on his contribution on the field to winning, which is what makes the difference in fans showing up.

Podsednik sucks. Pretty sure we don't need to subtract offense from the lineup, which is what he would be. We need to add it, if anything.

So yes, whoever wrote that. You are the only one.

Jack- I'm pretty sure the various traveling McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds shows demonstrate that 1 great player can draw crowds. While breaking a variety of home run records road attendance spiked for all their teams.

Chris in VT. It's not just position players. My understanding is road attendance is higher on the days the really good pitchers take the hill. Fans like seeing them also. Personally, I used to relish Maddux/Schilling matchups, and tried to get to the Vet whenever thay were slated against each other.

In short, marquis players are the ones the fans come to see. I argue all the time over Cardinal games with the guy with whom I share my season tix? Why? Simple: Albert.

awh: That's a different issue completely. Road games don't really matter for the stars' overall team revenue, which is what they would consider when offering a contract above market-value.

Why would the Cardinals offer Pujols (in this hypothetical example) more money than he's worth for his value in road games, profits from which they wouldn't recoup? Obviously, they wouldn't. I believe road teams get 40% of the ticket revenues, but none of the concession/merch, etc. It seems like a very small (though maybe not insignificant) portion of overall team revenues comes from road games.

My question is whether star players increase home ticket sales for a team beyond what its win-loss and historical ticket sales would suggest. You would need a relatively simple regression model and some historical data. I have not seen this study done, but I would be interested to see it.

CJ - aren't you missing Big Truck's weight loss on your tally?

Couldn't pay a player $30 mil a year for that length of time. I'm sorry, Pujols is GREAT, but I couldnt tie my organization's hands like that. Too many freak things could happen to end Pujols' run of greatness.

Jack, the visiting team gets 40% of the gate, IIRC. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe those are the MLB rules.

Jack, according to Scott Boras, stars DO increase ticket sales.

Didn't the Cliff Lee signing spur ticket sales in South Philly?

Cliff, that's a risk a team takes with ANY contract they offer to a player.

According to Forbes, the Cardinals revenue is 9th largest in MLB. They trail the NYY, NYM, BOS, LAD, CHC, PHL, LAA, and SFG. The seem to have a fair amount of debt on the books, probably from the cost of the new ballpark.

Spoke to my cousin tonight who lives in a suburb outside St. Louis. He said from all that they have been hearing and reading the length of the contract with Pujols is important. He wants 10 years. He also feels he should be above Alex Rodriguez' contract. Cardinals seem locked into the 200+ million range - which translates into fewer years, more per year or more years, less per year. Says the fan base seems very divided. They blame Cards management for letting it get this far - why didn't they do like the Rockies did this year with Cargo or Troy T. and sign Pujols a few years ago to a mega long contract. Now he'll be 32 when the season begins and many understand the reluctance to pay a guy 30 million until he's 42. He said it has cast a huge shadow over Cardinal baseball and fan enthusiasm with people feeing both sides are right and wrong at the same time - if that's possible.

awh: Yeah, I noted that. How much extra money do you think Pujols accounts for on the road? Let's do some horribly unscientific analysis (warning--this likely contains massive errors).

Start with 40% of 81 games (we'll assume here that attendance is equally distributed, which it is not). That gives you 32 games worth of gate revenues (but not merch/concessions, I believe) that the Cardinals get. Now, we have to calculate how much marginal value Pujols is worth in those games. Importantly, you'd have to subtract teams like the Phillies and Cubs that sell out every game regardless. We'll assume these series are the shorter ones, and subtract 3 for the Phils and 9 for the Cubs. Now, you're down to 20 games worth of gate revenues.

Let's do a really rough calculation using ESPN attendance stats. The median attendance was in Atlanta, with 67% sold. So we'll say the average of those 20 games is 67% capacity. The Cardinals, on the road, drew 71% capacity. So that's a marginal jump of 6%, which we'll generously attribute all to Pujols.

So, we'll say that Pujols accounts for a 6% marginal gain in revenue for 20 games on the road. The Cardinals drew, on average, 30,687 fans on the road, of which we are attributing 6% to Pujols. So Pujols accounts for 1841 extra fans per road game, multiplied by 20, which gets you to 36,824 extra seats sold over a season. At an average ticket price of $20 (average is closer to $30, but you figure the marginal extra tickets being sold are the cheaper ones, not the more expensive ones), and Pujols nets the Cardinals, in road revenues, a cool...

$736,000 a year.

Oh, and by the way, this is all pointless because when you look at what Fangraphs attributes to $ values for player performance, for instance, it's already taking all of the off-field stuff into account.

How do we know that? Because it's based off of what teams actually pay players (Fangraphs calculates after every off-season what the market actually paid, $/marginal win, in actual contracts). And the underlying assumption behind the "teams will pay more for off-field revenues" is that, well, teams are actually taking all of that revenue into account and paying for it.

Now, granted, its non-linear (so at the star level, it's worth more than at the replacement-level), but so are free agent contracts (only above replacement-level players ever reach six years of service and free agency).

Therefore, the idea that Fangraphs calculation of $ / marginal win doesn't take off-field revenue into account is baseless. It quite clearly does, because the whole metric is based off what teams are actually paying. True, you can quibble with the denominator (how they calculate on-field marginal value), but you can't claim that off-field revenue isn't being taken into account, because it is.

Postscript to my above post - my cousin said no one in St. Louis is talking about post-Pujols let alone someone like Ryan Howard trying to take his place. Questioned me on how the hell did we get Cliff Lee to come here for so much less money and years than he could have had with the Yanks and Rangers. We also discussed our respective lineups. He had a lot of kudos for Carlos Ruiz. When I told him that Chooch would be making about 2 million dollars this year - it got him to contemplating if Albert Pujols is really worth 15X more than a Carlos Ruiz type player is.

Jack, lousy analysis, but it's late, I'm traveling tomorrow, and I don't have time to do a better one.

I'm no economist and I can't tell you how much extra money the Cardinals bring in every year from having Pujols on their team. But I'm pretty sure that, if they let him walk, they're going to lose significant money due to a very p*ssed off fan base.

It's Joba the Hutt!

10 years & 300 million for a guy who will be in his 40's at the end of the deal is too much. Albert is being a pig. Nobody is worth that. The fact he's asking for it, though makes Ryan Howard's deal look a little better.

Back to the topic of the post...John Maine for a minor league deal with an invite to Clearwater would be great. If he sucks, no harm. If he's back to form, he could really help the big team.

re: Dumped Contracts

awh, et al from previous thread about released money.

Jeff from Cots e-mailed me and said he did not have an official amount but remembers the following 3 as the largest he can remember:

Arizona released Russ Ortiz with $22M owed in 2006.
Dodgers released Andruw Jones with $21.1M owed in 2009.
Toronto released BJ Ryan with $15M owed in 2009.

*Andruw Jones is owed $3.2M from 2011-2014 by the dodgers, ouch.

"10 years & 300 million for a guy who will be in his 40's at the end of the deal is too much."

For any old guy, yes. For the face of the franchise and one of the greatest players the game has seen, I don't think so.

For all of the talk of his late 30s and early 40s on a ten year deal, there's a fairly good chance that these seasons will include a few career milestones. That's got to be good for revenue.

As for cost vs abilities, we don't know what a player comparable to the talent of a 40 year old Pujols will be making in 2018 - 2020, but it's likely to be significantly higher than they're getting paid today.

Pujols has elite hitting skills and he plays an easy position defensively. He's the type of hitter that will probably still hit .300 with decent power well into his late 30s.

This isn't Mo Vaughn or Albert Belle we're talking about...its the best hitter in 50 years.

I think everyone can agree that in the last few years of a ten year deal for Pujols he will be overpaid based on his performance on the field. With a player like him, though, the hope would be that he is close to some records, which would definitely boost revenues at least somehwat. I don't have a problem with people saying he would be overpaid, per se. I have a problem with the Cardinals ownership trying to lowball him and every other star player and crying poor. If I was a loyal Cardinals fan who has supported that team through thick and thin I would be irate with this claim.

Factoring inflation into it (can someone with good math skills do that (figure on 4% inflation a year), what is the 2011 value of $30 million in 2021?

Any accountants here?

Off the wagon again, I guess:

"FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has been arrested on drunken driving charges in Florida.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office said the 27-year-old's car engine was smoking alongside a road late Wednesday when a deputy spotted the vehicle.

According to the arrest report, Cabrera smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and took a swig from a bottle of Scotch in front of a deputy. Police say Cabrera repeatedly refused to cooperate, saying, "Do you know who I am, you don't know anything about my problems." In 2009, the All-Star first baseman got into a fight with his wife after a night of drinking, right before his team surrendered the American League Central Division title to the Minnesota Twins.

Cabrera posted $1,350 bond and was released Thursday."

How dumb do you have to be to literally be chugging out of the bottle in front of a cop?

Okay, the inflation rate from 1990-2000 was 31.8% and from 2000-2010, it was 26.6% total.

So, basically, a $30 million deal in 2021 dollars is the equivalent of around $24 million today. Basically, that's not that burdensome...even for the "small-market" Cardinals.

NEPP - Really rudimentary attempt here, but based on my math and your figure of 4% inflation, the 30 mil would be worth about 20.25 million in 2021.

clout: I was simply stating SOME of the reasons that would prohibit highly inflated player salaries.

The points you make about a player having value off the field is very true. The only caveat is that off the field value is simply harder to measure.

***How dumb do you have to be to literally be chugging out of the bottle in front of a cop?***

At least he didn't bash the Jews...

Good Morning!

"He's the type of hitter that will probably still hit .300 with decent power well into his late 30s."

I love Albert Pujols, but that's hyperbole.The last 3 years he hit .357, .327, and .312. I will be very surprised if he is still over .300 in 6 years (when he is in his late 30s).

I think the John Maine thing is great, as long as they are willing to give up in time if it's not working out. It seems reasonable to give him a try.

phargo - Even if he's not hitting .300, he's still likely to be a valuable hitter. It's impossible to predict how anyone will age, but Pujols' top comparables are guys like Aaron, Foxx, Gehrig, Mantle, Eddie Matthews, Griffey, Mel Ott, Manny Ramirez, Juan Gonzalez, DiMaggio, and Frank Robinson. Aaron, Gehrig, Mantle, Robinson, Griffey, Ramirez, Ott, and DiMaggio were all still putting up 150-ish OPS+ seasons well into their 30s, in some cases past that. Foxx, JuanGone, and Matthews all fell off a cliff around 33-34, for a variety of reasons. But for the most part, players of that caliber don't just stop being productive as they get older. Some skills might decrease (like BA, fielding, SBs, etc) and others increase (BBs, and power, generally).

Pujols will likely be a productive player through his 30s, and will probably still be the best hitter in baseball for the next several years if history is any guide.

"At least he didn't bash the Jews..."

He did drop the "Do you know who I am?" line though. I can't tell you how much cops LOVE hearing that one.

"Pujols will likely be a productive player through his 30s..."

That I do not doubt at all. I just think that .300 in his late 30s is unrealistic.

"At least he didn't bash the Jews..."

Did he at least offer the cop a swig?

at 4% inflation:

(1.04^10)*$30 = $20.26

Chris - Or top it by quoting to the cop "I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly."

I just found this headline from the 1957 Beerleaguer archives:

"Chris Short has Phillies on his main List"


Giving anyone,reguardless of age,a ten year contract is a really a big gamble.I'm sure a list could be put together of players who had 3-4 good years and them vanished,whether they just lost it or got injured.

***at 4% inflation:

(1.04^10)*$30 = $20.26

Posted by: MisterZoomer | Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 09:46 AM


Thanks...math sucks.

How dumb do you have to be to either:

a) Swig the very fine single-malt scotch that you can buy if you have Cabrera's contract; or

b) Waste your money on the cheap kind of scotch that one might swig from the bottle?

A cop pulls over Heisenberg and says, "Do you know how fast you were going?"
Heisenberg says, "No. But I know exactly where I am."

Seems to me like 8/230 should be the deal. Tops A-Rod for highest-paid AAV, and it means you're not buying his age 41 and 42 season.

Works for me. Would Pujols accept?

Of course, in a world in which Jose Bautista gets 5/65 for one good season...

Pujols is justified in asking for pretty much anything he wants.

The Cardinals are the Eagles of Baseball. Huge, passionate fan base. Overrated manager. Out of town ownership (the Cardinals owner is from Cincinnati). And a management philosophy that says "stay good so we can sell seats, but don't spend so much to hurt profits."

Andy - A Heisenberg joke? Going to bust out some quantum mechanics haikus and yet incorporate the Phils?

Jack- It's safe to say we have no idea if Pujols would accept, but there has been talk that he wants to top A-Rod in both AAV and total value of the contract. If it were me, I'd rather offer him 34-35 mil on a 6 or 7 year deal than go for a 10 year deal at 30.

Pujols is justified in asking for pretty much anything he wants.

This. It's clear that Pujols told the Cardinals what he wanted but they wouldn't give it to him. Now he will try to get what he wants from the other 29 teams. Some team will give it to him.

BTW, this is all moot since the Cards apparently offered something in the 20 mil per range...which is a joke.

Nice one, Andy.

I know this is off topic- but this thread reminded me that I will be in St. Louis in September for a conference for several days.
Good news: The Cards are in town then, playing the Mets, then the Cubs. There's even a day game against the Mets. Count me in! I love day games, and seeing the Mets get beat.
Bad News: The worst seats in the house cost just under ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS each. Count me out.
I don't guess regular folks can afford to take thier kids to see the great Pujols...sad.

Yo, new thread

Kudos on the Heisenberg reference.

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