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Pujols wants a “Mount Everest” deal? How about a Mauna Kea deal.

Feb 7, 2011, 10:50 AM EDT

Mauna Kea

Buster Olney says that talks between Albert Pujols and the Cardinals are not moving at all.  He says this is because Pujols is seeking a “Mt. Everest” contract.  I guess that means the biggest ever.  But my guess is that he ends up with a “Mauna Kea” deal.

What’s Mauna Kea?  Why, it’s a dormant volcano in Hawaii. It only measures around 13,000 feet above sea level.  But here’s the thing: if you measure it from where the thing actually starts on the ocean floor, it’s actually way, way bigger than Everest.

My sense is that Pujols will eventually get something like that from the Cardinals. Maybe not as superficially big as A-Rod’s deal, but once you figure in deferred money, incentives, and weird back-end-of-the-deal lifetime contracts it will be enormous anyway.


  1. Erik Klemetti - Feb 7, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    If you really want to make the mountain/volcano analogy, just go all the way: Olympus Mons on Mars – only a volcano the size of Arizona and 25 km (thats 16 miles or 84,000 feet for you silly people using Imperial units) high. Makes Mauna Kea look like a one-year “make good” deal.

    • missthemexpos - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      Don’t know for sure, but there is a good chance that this is the first time that Olympus Mons has ever been used for reference in describing the $$ for a baseball contract. Makes any Mount Everest deals downright insulting.

      • Dan in Katonah - Feb 7, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        “Olympus Mons” – sounds like a good porn name.

  2. BC - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    7 years, $200 million is my guess.

    • uyf1950 - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:15 AM

      If Pujols settles for the contract you propose he will be giving the Cardinals a huge home town discount. Which I don’t think he’s in the mood to do. He’s already played for less then his market value there. I have absolutely no doubt he’s wants his “piece of the pie” now. Also is you look at it objectively you are saying Pujols is only worth about $8M more per season then what the Red Sox are paying Crawford. That’s absurd. There is only about 18 months difference in their ages and Crawford isn’t half the player Pujols is.

      • scatterbrian - Feb 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM

        “I don’t think he’s in the mood to do”
        “I have absolutely no doubt he’s wants his “piece of the pie” now.”
        “Crawford isn’t half the player Pujols is”

        I think you need to look up the word “objectively”

      • uyf1950 - Feb 7, 2011 at 1:23 PM

        To scatterbrain – I did. courtesy of Merriam-Webster and I quote “expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations…”.
        Not having a vested interest in or being a fan of the Cardinals one way or the other my opinion was objective.

      • scatterbrian - Feb 7, 2011 at 3:15 PM

        Your first two are absolutely personal interpretations. You are presuming to know what Pujols is thinking, which is interpretation. Not being a Cardinals fan doesn’t exclude you from that. The third is actually acceptable though. Pujols is about an 8-win player, Crawford is about a 4-win player.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 7, 2011 at 3:48 PM

        scatterbrain – Thank you for critiquing my comments. My first 2 comments as you list them were an extrapolation based on known events and data.
        But if you choose to believe that my comments are unfounded you are free to do so.

    • BC - Feb 7, 2011 at 1:39 PM

      $28.5 mil per year is underpaid?

      • uyf1950 - Feb 7, 2011 at 1:54 PM

        It’s the 7 years that undervalues his worth to the team. Let’s accept these negotiations for what they are. The Cardinals want to get away with what they think is the minimum Pujols will sign on the dotted line for. Pujols apparently wants to be paid commensurate with what he believes his value to the team is and what his status as the premier player in baseball justifies. In my opinion 7 years does not do that.

  3. umrguy42 - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    My offer (as a Cards fan) would be: 7 years guaranteed, 3 option years, total 300 million, $10 million per year deferred, maybe a nice buyout if options aren’t picked up.

    • uyf1950 - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      Unless the option years are player options Pujols would have to be crazy to take a deal like that. Second, why would he be willing to defer so much money yearly? That reduces the value of the contract, unless it incurs interest. Besides, I’m sure there would be at least a couple of teams willing to go 8 years guaranteed (Cubs for one) with a lot less deferred money. I don’t think there is any way the Cardinals get away with less then 8 years guaranteed at least $28M per and very little deferred with a 9th year option. If that option is not exercised I think, just my option the buyout will be $16M.

      • spudchukar - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM

        I am not sure how much of A-Rod’s contract is deferred, but I assume some of it is. While I agree that he must receive the 8 yrs/$28 per, I don’t think that $8-10 mil in deferred cash is unreasonable. That would be the hometown discount. He would then surpass A-Rod. Hopefully the last 2 years of the contract would be insured by performance clauses. In other words, that his options would automatically kick in if he plays a certain number of games, with a level that is commensurable with his previous years stats.

      • spudchukar - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:57 AM

        oops, year’s

      • uyf1950 - Feb 7, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        To spudchukar – None of the monies in ARod’s 2007 contract are deferred past his contract years. The only money that was deferred was money that Alex signed when he signed his original contract with the Rangers.

      • spudchukar - Feb 7, 2011 at 12:29 PM

        UFY, thanks for the info, but I am still a little confused. Are you saying that some of the money is deferred for 10 years or how ever long A-Rods contract is? And when the Yankees renegotiated his current deal, did it include any part of the Texas deal, and thus its deferments?

      • uyf1950 - Feb 7, 2011 at 12:37 PM

        Spudchukar – what I’m saying is that ARod opted out of his contract at the end of the 2006 season. That contract ended. Besides any monies deferred in that contract were the obligation of the Rangers. That’s why if you recall ARod filed an objection to the bankruptcy this past year by the Ranges. The deferred money in that contract was not the obligation of the Yankees. Like I said as for his new contract that he signed in 2007 with the Yankees has no deferred money. When is contract expires at the end of the 2017 season he will NOT be owed any money from the Yankees.

      • spudchukar - Feb 7, 2011 at 4:23 PM

        UYF, I am not trying to be difficult, dense maybe, but I still need more clarification, please. When you say no deferments past 2017, do you mean that there are deferments from 2007-2017? Just not beyond? Or that there are no deferments anywhere except for what the Rangers are still responsible for? To make it plainer, is any of A-Rod’s salary (from 2007-2016) deferred up to 2017, but not beyond?

      • uyf1950 - Feb 7, 2011 at 7:36 PM

        spudchukar – there are no deferred payments in ARods/Yankees contract. His salary is his salary and his significant milestone incentives for home runs like when he passes Mays 660 HR’s are paid in the same year as he achieves the milestone. That’s as clear and plain as I can make it.

      • umrguy42 - Feb 8, 2011 at 9:19 AM

        Well, 1. that’s why I’m not a big league GM, and 2. That would be a starting point.

        As for the deferral, I would point out to him that freeing up another 10 million a year would allow the team to continue to try and put good players around him as well.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 8, 2011 at 9:49 AM

        To umrguy42 – The problem with the last sentence of your argument. About $10M would allow them to continue to put good players around him. Is the Cardinals aren’t going to be just deferring $10M they would want to based on your original proposal defer $10M per year for 7 years that’s one third of what you suggest his total compensation package would be. I would have to believe that would be an unheard of amount of deferred money and unless he was getting some reasonable interest rate on deferred money he would be crazy to go for a deal like that. Deferred money with no interest lessens the total value of the offer.

  4. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    Just give the man his much deserved slice of pie.

  5. loungefly74 - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    a handful of “buy one get one free” coupons for Applebee’s appetizers…

    no really, the guy deserves a huge contract…give him 10% of cardinals ownership…:)

  6. BC - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    The dude’s next contract will be so big it will have moons orbiting it….

  7. xmatt0926x - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    I guess Cardinals fans are just full of love and kisses as every announcer states that they are. Do they ever question why ownership cries poormouth in these situations? What am I missing. Every time the subject is brought up on one of the baseball roundtable shows, all the experts seem to be in agreement that the Cards do very well financially. They fill the stadium, have fans from territories well outside of St. Louis who buy the jerseys, etc. I get that they wouldn’t want to get into The $150-180 million salary air of the top few teams, but they cant pony up for a once in a generation player? It seems their $100 million payroll is too low to be stalling so much on this contract.

    • billtpa - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:32 AM

      Having the money doesn’t make it a good idea to spend the money. There *is* actually a point at which Pujols becomes a bad investment. He may be a “once in a generation player” (I mean, yeah, he definitely is), but contracts in which the team just gives in and pays the player whatever he wants turn out well for the team a lot less often than once in a generation.

      • missthemexpos - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:56 AM

        Look no further than the Blue Jays and Vernon Wells, till the Angels gave a helping hand.

    • paperlions - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:34 AM

      Exactly, they could have a $120-$130MM payroll every year and at least break even. If they don’t sign Pujols, the future and financial prospects will be bleak. If they won’t pony up $30MM for him, what makes anyone think they’ll pony up $20MM for any star FA? And they would have to sign someone, because their farm system has no project position player stars.

  8. bigtrav425 - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    guess its about the money…and guess he is just like every other player

    • paperlions - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

      Uh huh, because you work where you do out of company loyalty and regularly decline raises you deserve so that ownership can make more money from your hard work. How many people that are the best in the world at something willingly don’t get paid like it? Pujols has been among the top 3 players in MLB since his 2nd year in the league, and he’s been among the top 25 salaries in baseball for exactly one year….and he didn’t complain about it once (unlike nearly every other person would in such a situation), now he wants his due and people begrudge him that? Really?

      • Alex K - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:49 AM

        I like how you put it better.

    • paperlions - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:44 AM

      A better comment would have been, guess the billionaire owner of the Cardinals is all about the money…just like every other owner. Where is the owner’s loyalty or appreciation in all of this? He’s had the best player in baseball on his team for a decade for less than $100MM.

    • Alex K - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:47 AM

      What made you think he was different than other player?

      Would you give your employer a “hometown discount” if you knew you could go get the same job for more money? I get that the difference between $28 million and $30 million a year has much less impact on a person than the difference between $40,000 and $60,000, but the principle is the same.

  9. TomTom - Feb 7, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Pay da man heees mahney!

    • bhfd64 - Feb 7, 2011 at 12:10 PM

      Dig the Rounders reference.

      Seriously, how is this deal not done yet? For years both sides have known that this day would come. What could the Cardinal front office have assumed? That they’d get him for less than $25mil / year? Not a chance! The difference from $25mil – $30mil / year? Virtually none with a team as successful as the Cardinals are. Write the check and lock him up already!

  10. Jonny 5 - Feb 7, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Who else thinks Pujols next contract is a serious concern for anyone holding it? Sure, maybe the Cards “owe” him but I think an A-rod type deal would be terrible for a team. History tells us that..

    • uyf1950 - Feb 7, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      My friend there is more to evaluating a players contract to the team then strictly looking at the effect in the latter years. I found this article on ARod. Here is the link you might find it interesting.

      Aside for the piece a general observation about Pujols. Is there any doubt that the Cardinals will suffer a monetary loss if Pujols is not renewed. That loss would probably far exceed the difference between offering him $5M or dollars less of going on the cheap for a year in the extension. There are very few players that would have the negative impact on a team income like Pujols.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 7, 2011 at 1:37 PM

        It depends on how things pan out though UYF. They equate the added value in wins. Around 9 for A-rod. then go on to say.

        “”He’s arguably the best player that will ever have played the game,” says ESPN analyst Steve Phillips, the Mets general manager from 1997 to 2003. “I do believe he’s that good, postseason numbers aside. But we have found that individuals don’t guarantee anything to a team.

        “If you have to sacrifice your team in multiple other areas to afford that single salary and put it into your overall budget, that doesn’t lead to winning.”

        I’m not saying he’s not worth “X”. I’m just saying it has to be a concern that he won’t live up to whatever “X” may be. Or be worth more than “X” costs the team in the long run.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 7, 2011 at 2:17 PM

        Jonny5 – I don’t disagree with that. As for how things panned out. They worked out pretty good in 2009. I don’t think there is any doubt that he along with CC were the major reasons the Yankees won the world series that year. As for his contract having an effect on the Yankees ability to sign other players I think most fans would say that’s not an issue.
        Now when it comes to the Cardinals and Pujols it may or may not effect their ability to sign players. But I have no doubt that should the Cardinals not sign Pujols it will effect their profitability.

  11. lisam580 - Feb 7, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Sign him. Pay him. Move on. Period.

    • billtpa - Feb 7, 2011 at 3:43 PM

      Sign him. Pay him. Move on. Live with the potentially disastrous consequences, probably get fired. Period.

      • spudchukar - Feb 7, 2011 at 4:15 PM

        There is no valid argument, other than greed, that supports the theory that the Cardinals cannot afford a payroll in the $125-$130 mil area. As Drew has pointed out, and I have repeated, the Cardinals are 5th in attendance and 5th in merchandising revenue. While their TV audience is smaller than some East Coast teams, their percentage of viewership almost doubles any other franchise. They were purchased for the ridiculously low price of $150 mil, and then sold off the parking rights for $90 mil. They are currently estimated to be worth something close to $750 mil. The management clings to notion that they must remain in the $100-$110 mil range, and have for many years, while their competitors close the salary gap with much less revenue, and the team value escalates at a rate that far exceeds the small increase they remain reluctant to bridge.
        About 50 years ago, the Cardinals were in a somewhat similar position. They had the best player in the NL, his name was Stan Musial. He was the first player to achieve a 6 figure salary in the NL. The Busch’s stance was that they were proud to have their star be so justly paid. Yes, the dollar amounts are starkly different, but the principle is the same. DeWitt should be proud to pay Albert the highest salary in the game. He has more than earned it and he deserves the honor. Such small consolation in lieu of the slight profit hit the Billionaire would “suffer”.

      • billtpa - Feb 7, 2011 at 4:34 PM

        (1) without greed, baseball (like most other things) doesn’t exist. You can’t just cast off greed.
        (2) if you’re going to make it a question of whether they can “afford” whatever they’d have to pay him under the current payroll, you’re making it an absurdly simple, useless question. If they can afford to pay Albert Pujols $30 million, they could also have afforded to pay Nick Punto $30 million, but that doesn’t make it a wise move, does it?

        Yes, the dollar amounts are starkly different, but the principle is the same. DeWitt should be proud to pay Albert the highest salary in the game. He has more than earned it and he deserves the honor. Such small consolation in lieu of the slight profit hit the Billionaire would “suffer”.
        This is crazy talk. You don’t pay a player (or anyone else) an annual salary as an “honor” recognizing past achievements. That’s called a pension. They should offer to pay him absolutely no more than what they think he’s likely to be worth to them going forward. And whether or not they’d be up against it right now, every single team has a payroll budget. If they just hand him whatever he wants now and he’s a bench player in seven or eight years and still making the highest salary in the game, it’s not the “Billionaire” who would suffer, it’s the fans of the team that has been crippled by Pujols’ paycheck.

      • spudchukar - Feb 7, 2011 at 5:29 PM

        Dewitt has stated that his reluctance to pay Pujols the aforementioned $28-$30 per, is due to its impact on his yearly profit margin, which he believes he is entitled to despite the ever appreciating team value. My complaint is his insistence on maintaining a profit level which eclipses other less profitable organizations. If they can afford to pay their players the going rate, why can’t DeWitt? Pujols is not trying to break the bank. His asking price would simply move the Cardinals up to a level commensurate with their revenue standing.
        What is “Crazy Talk”, is the notion that players aren’t paid for their past performances. That is the “only” measuring stick agents bring to the bargaining table, with the lone exception perhaps being age. Pujols is 30. In order to lock him up for the rest of his career, a salary in the 28-30 mil range is what most analysts agree is the correct number. No one knows how long Pujols can perform at the level he has thus far. What is known is that every year, for a total of 10, he has outperformed any other player in the history of the game. So if anyone deserves a salary of his level it is him. The Punto analogy is ridiculous. What is clear is the Cardinals have the money to pay Pujols without negatively impacting anyone’s salary except DeWitt’s. Perhaps Pujol’s productivity will wane when he reaches the upper 30’s, and then his salary will surpass his productivity. But unless the Cardinals are willing to pay the going rate for him now, they won’t have his productivity up to that age, another team will.

      • billtpa - Feb 7, 2011 at 6:04 PM

        Owners are entitled to seek profit. That’s how the system works. If he’s making his profit by means other than pocketing handouts from other owners, I don’t see what the problem is. If he’s not putting a good enough team on the field for you, stop going to the stadium and decrease those profits.

        What is “Crazy Talk”, is the notion that players aren’t paid for their past performances. That is the “only” measuring stick agents bring to the bargaining table, with the lone exception perhaps being age.
        Perhaps? Perhaps?! Heh. You’ve got his past performance, and his age, and a century of data to tell you what a player in that position is likely to do going forward. His past performance means exactly nothing if you don’t think he’s capable of repeating it. How much would you pay Bob Gibson to suit up for 2011?
        And only in your head is it signing Pujols vs. not signing Pujols, the end. In reality, it’s signing Pujols vs. putting the money that would otherwise have been used to sign Pujols toward other players, drafting & development, etc. There is a price past which signing Pujols would make less sense than other things the Cardinals could do with the same money. If Pujols is demanding something greater than that, you should want some other team to be stuck paying it out. You should hope it’s the Cubs, for that matter.

      • spudchukar - Feb 7, 2011 at 6:45 PM

        You are certainly welcome to envision a Cardinal team without Pujols and also entertain scenarios where the Cardinals could spend the money they save by not resigning him. What you fail to grasp is the present reality. 1) There is no evidence to support the idea that Dewitt will not be raking in a considerable amount of dough if he accepts the contract demands of of about $28-$30 mil a year. 2) While no one can foresee the future, the best guess of what will happened in the future, is what has happened in the past. Any prognostications based on anything but past performance is foolhardy at best and ignorant at worst. 3) To date, no player has given an organization the confidence that their performance level will continue than that given by Albert Pujols to the Cardinals. 4) Why you cannot read the numbers and see your argument that paying Pujols the salary he deserves, will in no way adversely effect any current salaries is beyond me. 5) Regarding “the end” comment, it has no basis in reality. I sure never indicated the downfall of the Cardinals if an agreement isn’t reached. I simply said, they can afford it, other teams with less money can afford it, and that it would be unjust and foolish for the Cardinals to entertain the idea that they shouldn’t fork over the $28-$30 mil when it is clear that doing so would have no impact on anything but the percentage of profit Dewitt desires.

  12. lisam580 - Feb 7, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Excellent points, spudchukar. I think the potential disaster is letting Pujols go. How long has Boston suffered by letting Ruth go to the Yankees–and yes I think that’s a fair analogy. I also think your comparison with Musial is on the mark for many reasons. Pujols has been compared to him all along, and I think Pujols values that sort of long term identification with a team like the Cardinals. I think all guesses at what kind of deal it would take are just that–guesses. BUT, I do believe Pujols is interested in more than just the biggest paycheck. Pujols is a blue-collar, hard working player and that fits in with the Cards mentality.

  13. cur68 - Feb 7, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    Dear Albert Pujols; The Blue Jays have some cash to spare (an Angel saved us). How about it? We’ll give you Vernon Well’s old contract, throw in some socialized medicine, a queen (no, really, not like that! A real, female queen! She’s on the money and everything), and you get to call the beaver your official animal. C’mon, bra, that’s the trifecta right there! Oh yeah, and the Rogers Centre is way more hitter friendly than Busch. It’s got a roof and everything. puh-lleeeeeze??? We’ll give you Celine Dion? Grab her by the ankles I bet you could swing her hard at a ball (or anything), she can’t weigh more than your bat and she’s 100% maple through and through. French maple, yes, but maple. Actually forget about it, just take Celine and go.

  14. superpriebe - Feb 7, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    Craig Calcaterra says that talks between Albert Pujols and the Cardinals are not moving at all. He says this is because Pujols is seeking a “Jupiter” contract. I guess that means the biggest ever. But my guess is that he ends up with a “PSR B1620-26 b” deal.

  15. evanpenn - Feb 8, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    My guess is that PSR B1620-26 b is an extrasolar planet from the context… Extremely witty, I laughed pretty hard at this post, you rule dude.

    • superpriebe - Feb 8, 2011 at 11:10 PM

      Yes, it is an extrasolar planet, which (I think) makes it a little extra-geeky. The alpha-digital nature of the name gives it that extra nerdboost into the absurd.

      Thanks for the kudos…I got a kick out of writing it.

  16. guitarken - Feb 8, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    Please – Brian Cashman is reading this too. Since the Yanks didn’t make a spash with a pitcher, time to make it in some other tremendous way – yeah, we can put Tex in the outfield for the best player in the game. Why not?

    • guitarken - Feb 8, 2011 at 2:31 AM

      Oh yes – if George were alive…..Pujols would be trying on the stripes right now. That MO has worked and should be continued if they want the same success – PLUTO success – not even really in the same solar system as any other franchise.

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