Without question Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball. His career numbers are so gaudy I won't even bore you with the details. Lets just say the first 10 season of his career are statistically unmatched by anyone who's ever played the game. He single handedly destroyed the Brewers in game 2 of the NLCS crushing home runs and doubles like he was taking batting practice. All of this productivity should result in a hefty new contract right?
Wrong. Certainly Albert Pujols will be rewarded handsomely for his services and past success, but he'll only get half of what he thinks he should. The 2011 MLB playoffs have exposed the fatal flaw with baseball contracts. It's difficult to project how long a player will be at the top of their game and one miscalculation can cost a team hundreds of millions of dollars.
Alex Rodriguez had a dreadful playoff series and is beginning to show serious decline in his production. The Yankees however are on the hook for 6 more years at 27.5 million dollars a season (guaranteed no less). He's untradable and not worth the money. Ryan Howard has also seen his production decline in recent years and ruptured his Achilles tendon in the final at bat of the Phillies playoff series. There is a good chance he will miss a considerable amount of the 2012 season, but the Phillies are still on the hook for 100 million dollars over the next 4 years.
This is bad news for Albert Pujols. Teams are no longer willing to sign their star players to long term contracts based on their past performances. The risk is even greater after a player turns 30. Albert is in a no win scenario. His career numbers suggest he should be the highest paid player in baseball for years to come, but his age (31) and the sudden decline of Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard won't allow that to happen. Too bad Albert. You deserve better.