Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I was not expecting this when I logged onto the interweb this morning. Holy hell, there’s a lot of interesting stuff to slog through after the fact. Throughout the day, I will try and chime in a bit on some of those things. I am a Mariners fan, so I’ll offer a bit of that perspective as well. There will probably be a bit of whining. There’s a lot of ins and outs to this, a lot of what-have-yous. I’m probably not even remotely qualified to pontificate on these matters, but that’s never stopped me before.
What This Means for the Mariners
At first glance, it’s kind of depressing, actually. No matter the numbers, no matter if Pujols is overpaid and destined to become an albatross (check out the industry jargon, you guys) down the road. For now, for the next couple of years, this makes it harder for the Mariners to be successful. I had a wonderful little dream of the Mariners developing some this season, improving across the board, and then making some moves and a run in 2013. It could still happen, but it seems more unlikely than it did yesterday. The Rangers and Angels are throwing a lot of money around, and adding talent at an impressive rate. They have big television deals and big markets and the potential to only get richer and bigger as time goes on. In the short term, they seem destined to battle for the division and maybe even the wildcard, leaving the rest of the AL West in the dust. Some day, Albert Pujols will be a drag on the Angels finances, and CJ Wilson will be gone, and maybe Mike Trout won’t quite turn into Micky Mantle , and I’ll probably take joy in all of this, but that day is not coming anytime soon. Five years, six years, is a long time.
On the Albert Pujols Signing
I agree with everyone else. The contract is too long, and it’s for too much money. The Angels are relying on a handful of peak-ish seasons from Pujols on the front end of the deal in order to make the back end more palatable (lol). This could happen, it could not happen. He could get hurt, he could not. It’s very difficult to predict the decline phase for once-in-a-lifetime talents. The move to the AL, the new home park, and the aging, are not in Albert’s favor. I’m happy the Mariner’s didn’t make this commitment, but I will also be unhappy when the Angels win a lot of games next season and the one after that and beat the Mariners many times. If the Angels take over the city and are willing to extend payroll into Red Sox territory, then who cares? Sign him up! If not, they’ll be kind of hamstrung by this contract in the years to come.
On the CJ Wilson Signing
It’s kind of really fair? Reportedly, Wilson left a year of security and many millions of dollars on the table when he chose to sign with the Angels rather than the Marlins. He likes California, he likes to mountain bike and snowboard or some shit, so he gave the Angels the ol’ Hometown Discount. Good for the Angels, because I believe this signing to be a good one. Wilson, despite strong ground ball numbers, should see some benefit to pitching in LA rather than Texas (stunning, I know), and given the Angel’s typically strong defense, as well as some punks named Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout who are getting primed to run super fast all over that outfield for many years to come, he probably won’t see too much bad luck in his batted ball numbers. There’s also his history as a relief pitcher, meaning Wilson perhaps has a bit more life in his arm than most 31-year-old starters, and may be less prone to a big injury. Not to mention he’s straight-edge. So he’s not real life 31, he’s clean living 31, which is more like 27 (science). All of these considerations in conjunction with the fact that Wilson will only have to average a little over 3 wins per season to justify the dollars, and it’s not far fetched that the Angels got real value here. God damn them.
How I Feel for Cardinals Fans (the Ones I Can Stand)
Badly. I feel badly for them. Randy Johnson left. Ken Griffy Jr. left. Alex Rodriguez left and then became the biggest tool ever. I understand. When a star player, an elite talent, a face of the franchise leaves, it’s terrible. It hurts even more when they’re homegrown. When you drafted them, tracked their development, watched them as rookies, saw them blossom into a superstar. I’m not here to diminish how bummed Cardinals fans are right now. I’m sure this whole thing fucking sucks.
I’d like to think that if I were in Albert’s shoes, I would have stayed. I’d have thumbed my nose at the extra 30 or 40 or 50 million and cemented my legend in St. Louis, became immortal. But I don’t know. My life hasn’t been a fraction similar to his. I think the notion of respect is very important to Pujols. He was drafted in the 13th round. No one believed in him for a long time. He’s been underpaid his entire career. And his hometown team wasn’t willing to pay top dollar in order to retain him. Pujols doesn’t think of himself as passed his prime. He doesn’t plot out his production on a graph and anticipate decline. He thinks he’s going to hit like Babe Ruth forever. And he should, it’s that mentality coupled with his talent that’s got him where he is today. Ultimately, I think that’s why Pujols signed with the Angels. They showed him respect. They respected him enough to overpay him.