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The prized jewel of the 2011 free-agency class, Albert Pujols has rebounded from his early season struggles and put together another strong season.
He is batting .295 (a career worst...most players would kill for that average) with 34 homers and 85 RBI. His OPS is also a career worst this season at .916. The fact that his career worsts would be career years for the overwhelming majority of major league players illustrates just how unique a talent Pujols truly is.
He will be 32 at the beginning of next season, but should still be an elite hitter for at least another five or six seasons, and a very good hitter even into his late 30s and early 40s if he chooses to play that long.
Pujols is a three-time MVP and four-time MVP runner-up. He's also a nine-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner.
He's the most marketable player in Major League Baseball and will be rewarded for his on- and off-field contributions in his next contract.
He may not earn the $300 million salary he was reportedly seeking prior to this season, but he should still wind up the highest-paid player in the game before next season begins.
My best guess has him signing for around $240 million for eight years ($30 million average salary).