Albert Pujols’ 10-year, $254 million deal is extremely backloaded

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Just like the Marlins did in acquiring free agent shortstop Jose Reyes, the Angels are dabbling in some dangerous backloading in their 10-year, $254 agreement with first baseman Albert Pujols.

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Pujols will get just $12 million in 2012 and $16 million in 2013.

Because of those low early salaries, the deal jumps to over $30 million annually near its conclusion.

The Angels recently signed off on a huge television contract that will guarantee them between $100-$150 million per season over the next 20 years, and they have a dedicated fanbase in Southern California that generates yearly attendance totals over 3 million. But we’re thinking there will come a day when the Angels’ higher-ups greatly regret the structure of the Pujols deal. He’ll be 41 years old when the 10-year pact expires, and he’s already showing subtle signs of decline. Remember, Pujols also got a full no-trade clause.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.