Albert Pujols is worth the money. About that there’s little doubt.
However, what’s crossed my mind has been the thought that with all the free-agent blunders the Angels have made in recent seasons (someone check Vernon Wells for a pulse), the team would be so willing to go after the biggest fish in the tank.
Anyone not think Pujols fits that description? OK, I’ll move on.
What concerns me is the fact that the front office has misjudged free agents so poorly lately (don’t bother checking Scott Kazmir’s heartbeat), and I’m left wondering how that effected this team’s ability to judge free agents this time.
Ok, ok. Pujols is great. Has been great. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, and his career’s only half over.
But what if… he’s cracked?
What if he’s defective? What if he develops a hitch in his swing or his step?
I’ll tell you what. It’d be 1999 and it’d be Mo Vaughn all over again.
We, as Angels fans, have seen this one before. Vaughn was a great hitter (not of Pujols caliber, admittedly) and a great community guy in Boston. He’s signed a monster contract to come to SoCal and fell into a dugout chasing a foul ball in 2001, injured a leg, and was never the same.
What if Pujols falls victim to the bizarre curse that has befallen so many Angels before him? Did Arte Moreno just pay a guy $250 million, guaranteed, to suffer an unseemly fate and not play up to the contract?
At some point, this is going to cost the franchise, but to what extent?
Will Pujols be Pujols for the next 10 years? He simply cannot, but it’s how he declines that will determine the relative worth of his new contract.
One thing is for certain: making a player among the league’s highest-paid sort of awakens the spirits, if you know what I’m saying.