Sources around baseball believe that Albert Pujols will be making a decision about his future in the next few days – perhaps even today. One of the leading contenders for Pujols are the Miami (formerly Florida) Marlins. throwing $200 million at a player is a foreign concept to the Marlins, historically a very cheap organization.

Why do the Marlins want Pujols?
Obviously, Pujols is a great player.  But he’s also a Hispanic player, and 70% of Miami residents are hispanic.  Adding Pujols to current Marlin Hanley Ramirez and recently signed Jose Reyes would give the Marlins a trio of hispanic superstars.  In fact, all three are natives of the Dominican Republic.

The Marlins have been infamous for large expanses of empty orange seats.  Even with a new name, logo, stadium, and hispanic superstars, will the Marlins draw fans?  That’s the $200 million question at the moment.

Does the deal make sense for the Marlins?

Only if they are committed to building a winner around Pujols.  If they are forced to trade Pujols in mid-contract, they could be forced to pay a portion of the remaining contract in order to move him.  Big contracts are hard to move, even for great players.  Tom Hicks learned this the hard way when the Ranger unloaded Alex Rodriguez in mid-contract.  The Rangers were forced to subsidize the cost of A-Rod to the Yankees.

Then there’s the issue of money – likely to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $225 – $235 million over ten years.  That’s a ton of money, but the larger concerns is the length of the deal.  Pujols will officially be 32 when the season begins, although there has been speculation that he is older.  Even if he’s just 32, this means he’d be 41 in the last year of the deal.  There are a lot of great players who were washed up long before age 41.

Pujols is also rumored to be demanding a no trade clause.  He might accept a limited no-trade clause, but will likely want other concessions (or more money) to accept this.

Does the deal make sense for Pujols?

No.

Pujols has his hand in a lot of things in the St. Louis are.  He makes a lot more money than his baseball income.  He’s a revered figure, and companies line up to have Pujols endorse them.

Would Pujols also have a lot of endorsement opportunities in Miami?  Definitely.  However, as part of the trio, he might be splitting opportunities with Reyes and Ramirez.  In St. Louis, he’s clearly the main man, even in the presence of players such as Holliday, Carpenter, and Wainwright.  While the fact that he’s hispanic will play well in the hispanic community, it’s really never been an obstacle to marketing opportunities in St. Louis.

More importantly, the Cardinals are a franchise that has consistently shown a commitment to winning.  The Marlins, on the other hand, have often gone into slash-and-burn mode and cut loose high-priced players.  As a result, the Cardinals have a large and devoted fan base, while the Marlins do not.

Even if the money is a bit less, I think the experience will be better in St. Louis.

 

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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