I grew up watching Ozzie Smith and listening to Cardinals baseball on the radio and I love watching Albert Pujols play but I think the only choice the team has is to trade him this summer.
If we have learned anything from the stock market crash of 2008 is that if you pay for past performance you are going to get burned. There is no questioning the production and the value Pujols has brought to the team, but a long term deal will be devastating four years from now.
This off-season the baseball world was shocked once again by a team over spending on a player which disrupts the market. Of course I am talking about the Jayson Worth deal which gives him $18 million a season over 7 years. Worth has a career batting average of .272 over 8 seasons, while Pujols' career average is .331 over 10 seasons. Worth has hit 120 home runs, Pujols 408. If Worth is getting $18 million a year and that is what the market will pay then by all accounts the Cardinals should pay Pujols somewhere in the neighborhood of $25-$35 million a year. If the Cardinals give Pujols a 7 year deal the starting dollar amount is at least $175 million, which while not A-Rod money is still a lot of money.
The Cardinals have already had the best player in baseball for a decade now and have to chose between pleasing the fans and making a smart financial decision. I don't think Pujols will be a $35 million dollar player in 2015, yet that would only be 4 years from now still leaving 3 years on the contract. If the Cardinals were smart they would offer a 5 year $150 million contract with a team option for years 6 and 7 if Pujols reaches 450 at bats a year.
If they can't get the deal done, I say you trade for Reyes from the Mets and spend the leftover money on the bull pen.