Over at Circling the Bases, Craig Calcaterra speculates on negotiations between Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals. I just don’t understand why. I suppose negotiating an extension this offseason makes some sense; it would probably be Albert’s last giant contract, and getting it inked soon mitigates the risk of catastrophic injury. Also, it gives the Cardinals cost-certainty going forward. The Cardinals won’t like paying two players about $45 million a year, but at least they’ll know what they have to play with.
It’s the timing that confuses me, and it mostly has to do with our buddy Joe Mauer. Why would the only player in baseball justified in asking for more money than Mauer not wait for Mauer to set the market? Pujols has every reason to ask for more money–I don’t need to spill any digital ink describing just how insanely awesome he is. If Mauer has a chance to become the best catcher ever, Pujols has a chance to be regarded as the best player ever, barring injury or an age adjustment or that other thing I’m not even going to talk about. So why not wait?
Now, between the Longoria and Mauer pieces, I don’t think I can say I’m anything less than an advocate for player greed. It’s entirely possible that Pujols doesn’t really care about every last dime.