If the $250 million figure over 10 years is accurate, Pujols will only be behind Alex Rodriguez's 10-year, $252 million contract and will be third in payroll for this upcoming season behind A-Rod ($32 million) and new teammate Vernon Wells ($26.1 million).
The shakeup of the Angels speak volumes of how important it is to get back to the World Series. The Angels finished the 2011 season 10 games behind the AL West-champion Texas Rangers, who are in talks with Prince Fielder.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Angels lacked the batting power to go with the great pitching. The Angels finished 21st in on-base percentage (.313) and 17th in total runs scored (667) in 2011. But was it necessary to sign Pujols to a contract worth $250 million per year?
The answer is yes.
But over a 10-year period?
The short term, the next four years, should bring at least one World Series back to Los Angeles, but let's compare A.P. to A-Rod.
At 36, A-Rod finished the 2011 with only 16 home runs, THREE after the All-Star break. Injuries plagued the majority of his season, and Pujols' injury history, especially his back, is a huge concern to his career moving forward. Pujols has managed to play in at least 143 games each season since he hit the majors, but how long can that continue?
The upside of this contract was Pujols' performance in the World Series. Pujols battled back from his ailments to finish admirably in the Fall Classic, hitting three home runs in Game 3 alone to tie Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson. He posted a .424 on-base percentage in the series.
You can't doubt his talent. But you have to question a significantly long contract for a man who was undoubtedly affected by injury for the majority of the season. Perhaps if it was any other pain, besides the knee, this wouldn't be such a big deal, but anyone with back pain knows that it is lingering problem that requires time off to heal. Maybe this isn't going to be too difficult because he will be in American League and thus more than able to become a designated hitter at times or for the latter part of his career.
Any way you see it, though, the Angels will have to pray that their investment stays healthy until his 42nd birthday.
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