The Albert Pujols contract deadline is almost here. When he reports to spring training with the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Pujols’ contract deadline will have been reached. That report date is Feb. 16 now, meaning there is basically a week left for Pujols’ agents and the front office of the Cardinals to get this deal done.
According to ESPN, the Feb. 16 report date is a few days sooner than the original expected date of Feb. 19. It’s about to be a stressful week for Cardinals fans, though, because there has been no indication that a deal is close to taking place. It’s not just going to come down to how many years the contract will be for, but how much money Pujols is going to be paid during its duration.
The reason Pujols stated he set this deadline was that he didn’t want contract talks to become a distraction during the 2011 season. It makes sense too, especially when you look at how teams can be torn apart in the NBA when a player is approaching a free agent season. Getting a deal done before spring training begins is the best-case scenario for everyone involved, but a deal of this magnitude takes a bit of time to put together.
The expectation is that Pujols is about to become the highest paid player in baseball. That would mean a salary that could approach $30 million per season for the duration of the deal, and possibly more if the deal ends up being short on years.
It’s unclear if Pujols wants to have the largest deal in total dollars, but that would put this deal in the neighborhood of $300 million if that is what his agent is trying to make happen. That’s a lot of money, but it would keep Pujols in St. Louis for the rest of his career.
The St. Louis Cardinals are walking a fine line here with Pujols on two fronts, both of which will impact the franchise for many years to come. The first equation is whether a deal is going to get done in time to make everyone happy. They have about a week to get Pujols signed for several more years, and then they can put this behind them. Each day that the deadline draws closer, though, is another day of stress for the organization and its fans.
The second equation and line the Cardinals are walking has to do with payroll. It’s important that they have the financial resources to not just pay Pujols, but to field a competitive team with the money they have left to spend. It’s a tough road either way, but hopefully for fans of the Cardinals, Pujols and the franchise are able to come to terms soon. If not, this could be a very chaotic season with numerous distractions that have nothing to do with baseball.