So, Albert Pujols, formerly one of my favorite National League players committed many sins this offseason. While it wasn’t full-blown LeBron, and while he may resign with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols rejected an ungodly amount of money for an ungodly to-be-determined amount of money.
Now I am too tired and unemployed to discuss why someone needs those extra millions or why 275 million matters more than 250 million. I can understand why Pujols wants to be the highest paid player in the game – he thinks he’s the best and apparently, in his eyes, he needs to be compensated as such. I guess he doesn’t understand cost of living, major and minor markets or not being a dick.
But what I want to get into today is the fact that if I was a GM, I would take three 10 million dollar players over one 30 million dollar player EVERY DAY. In fact, I feel bad for Cardinals GM John Mozeliak. He’s screwed. If he loses Pujols to the Cubs, he will be run over with a John Deere (although I hear St. Louis is somewhat of a city – they do have an arch). If he signs him to the richest contract ever, he will hamstring his franchise for the next decade and guarantee that they can’t be competitive.
Albert can hit .350 with 50 bombs and 150 RBIs annually and I’d still take the three players. It’s simple really. Let’s do a really simplified version of WAR (Wins Above Replacement). At his best, let’s say Pujols has a WAR of 7 (generous) at a position where offense is easy to come by and where mediocre defense is acceptable. Moreover, it also can be used as a catch-all position for aging but talented fielders. I’d take three 10 million players everyday. Read the subsequent paragraph.
Let’s take three average 10 million players (roughly, I am too tired and lazy to look at actual salaries.) The premise is that three players can easily make up the 7 WAR that Pujols puts up while providing a higher overall premium as opposed to creating black holes in the field or at the plate. Let’s take David Ortiz at first/DH with a WAR around 3. 30 bombs, 100 RBIs. Rafael Furcal at short (I could go with Hanley or Tulo but want to make this fair). Around .300, 20 steals and an onbase threat and a plus defender. WAR around 3 (up to six already). Lastly, Tim Hudson (I really want to keep this fair. Mediocre pitcher, WAR 3.5.
We spent a hair under 30 million on three players who provide pop, speed and pitching. A #2 and #5 hitter and competent #2 starter, a combined WAR of 9.5 and two positions that don’t need to be considered. would you rather have that or an awesome cleanup hitter? It seems obvious. Good luck John. You’re screwed either way.