No, the title isn’t mistyped. The more I think about it, free agency just might be the best thing for the Cardinals when it comes to Albert Pujols.
Think about it. Right now, the only team Pujols can take offers from is the Cardinals. It’s like being in a vacuum. You’re only competing with yourself. So of course the price will be higher because the only factors in the negotiations are the Cards and Pujols.
If he enters free agency, and all signs point towards that being the case, other teams will get a shot to offer Pujols something. The Cardinals might not be able to send a mega contract his way in the ways that Boston and New York could but they can compete with Anaheim, Chicago, and almost any other team out there.
I believe that there is no team in baseball that would be willing to pay Pujols $27.5+ million a year at the age of 40. So free agency could serve as a wake up call for the Pujols camp and ultimately tilt the field back in favor of the Cardinals.
Look at the list of players who have been successful after the age of 40. Sure there’s Willie Stargell who knocked in 82 RBI when he was 39 years old in 1979. There was Ken Griffey Jr who had back to back 70+ RBI seasons when we was 37 and 38, but you saw how his career ended when his body failed him. Sure you can go back to Bonds and his production after the age of 40 but how much of that was because of PED’s. Face facts, you can play well after age 40 but you aren’t going to play $30 million well. It just doesn’t happen and with the game being “clean” now, its even more unlikely to happen.
So let the deadline pass and let Pujols enter the market. The Cardinals won 9 titles before him and they will win more after him.