(KMOX, St Louis) — The decision has come and gone now for Albert Pujols and it’s time for one last reflection as the Cardinals and Cardinal Nation move on.
I have to admit that I’m probably not as surprised as many others with Pujols’ decision to leave St. Louis for “greener pastures”. There were two factors that played into this decision in my humble opinion.
First, was his agent Dan Lozano. Remember Lozano peeled off a big time agency to go solo and in order for him to really make a name for himself in the industry Albert was his ticket. You see if he got a big contract for Pujols he would have the chance to really make it big as an agent in the baseball world on his own. That’s why you had the initial asking price from Camp Pujols at $275 to $300 million dollars. And that’s why we saw this past week Camp Pujols be very patient in their decision making process. And as we can see it definitely paid off for Lozano and Albert.
The second thing that made me believe Pujols was really looking somewhere else was comments that he made to Bob Nightengale of USA Today in September talking about how the decision wasn’t in his hands as to what team he would sign with in the upcoming free agency period. You see I’ve learned covering this sports business for a while now that the contract decisions are all about the player and no one else. And if players let his agent or anyone else influence his decision, well, let’s just say the likelihood of that player coming back is not very high. If you harken back to the glory days of the St. Louis Rams, guys like Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt had instructed their agents to get a deal done with the Rams. Albert didn’t do that. And let’s not forget that Pujols was the one that didn’t want to talk about his contract during the season, but all of a sudden he does with Nightengale towards the end of the year.
As far as the Cardinals are concerned there is no way they could have legitimately paid that kind of money to Pujols and tried to have a competitive team. It’s just too much money for one player for a team in this market size and way too many years in my opinion. Sure the Cardinals could have been more aggressive in their negotiations with Alberts people in the early stages of this process, but at the end of the day the asking price would have been too high no matter what. Now the team has money to spend and they owe it to this incredibly faithful fan base that are grateful for another World Title, but also stung by the loss of one of their heroes.
Scott Warmann is a host on the Sports Hub