SocraticGadfly: St. Louis Cards can afford to resign Pujols

January 28, 2011

St. Louis Cards can afford to resign Pujols

Per St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Jeff Gordon, in analyzing financial ramifications of St. Louis Cardinals contract talks with Albert Pujols, says that Cardinal CEO DeWitt can financially afford to let Pujols walk, mentioning the team has drawn at least 2.4 million a year for 15 years straight. (Corrected from identifying this as a Joe Strauss column earlier.)

Yes, but ....

Let's say it falls back to 2.4 million instead of 3.2 million, Joe. 800K fans at about $20 a ticket, plus an average of $5 of auxiliary spending on concessions, etc.? (And, those are all surely lowball numbers right there.)

That's $20 million a year. And, Pujols wants just $15 million a year more than he's making now. Add in the possibility of fewer postseason appearances, etc. Even if we factor out business taxes, etc., Joe, the Cards might just lose money by not meeting Pujols' terms.

But, that doesn't appear to be DeWitt's mentality.

Joe Strauss elsewhere summarizes that attitude:
(Cardinals CEO Bill) DeWitt underscored during December's winter meetings in Orlando, Fla., that all organizations "have limits." DeWitt also maintained during this month's appearance that the club was willing to wait until after the season, if necessary, to retain its signature player. ...

The Cardinals previously have characterized Pujols' situation as "independent" of recent contracts that have redefined the game's financial landscape. General manager John Mozeliak noted in May that the club was committed to paying for future, rather than past, production.

And, so, to follow up on Jayson Stark's latest musings, I seriously doubt DeWitt will make Pujols a $300 million man with a 10/$30 contract.

Now, per the idea that DeWitt just wants to pay for current performance, what if Dan Lozano countered with a call for a three-year contract for $100M? DeWitt would have to put up or shut up for sure, then.

But Lozano would have to gamble that Pujols could then still pull, say, $22.5M or so a year on a five-six year deal after that.

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