Report: Cardinals made low-ball offer to Albert Pujols

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com has the first report on St. Louis’ final offer that Albert Pujols turned down and … well, it’s pretty shocking.

According to Rosenthal the Cardinals wouldn’t go to 10 years and proposed an annual salary that would make Pujols somewhere around the 10th-highest paid player in baseball.

That’s great money of course–Rosenthal speculates that the average annual value was between $19 million and $21 million–but when you offer the best player in baseball the 10th-highest salary in baseball you’re basically asking him to reject it.

Last spring Ryan Howard inked a five-year, $125 million extension with the Phillies and two offseasons ago the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira to an eight-year, $180 million deal as a free agent. Those deals pay $25 million and $22.5 million per season respectively, and there’s absolutely zero reason for Pujols to accept a contract that pays him less per season than two excellent but clearly inferior players at the same position.

And that’s without even bringing Joe Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million deal with the Twins or Alex Rodriguez’s ten-year, $275 million deal with the Yankees into the discussion. Heck, both Derek Jeter and Manny Ramirez snagged contracts that paid $20 million per season a decade ago. Pujols giving the Cardinals some sort of “hometown discount” would be one thing, but for the best player in baseball to accept the third- or maybe even fourth-highest annual salary at his own position is well beyond any notion of loyalty.

Assuming that Rosenthal’s report is correct, it’s awfully tough to blame Pujols for turning St. Louis down and it’s awfully easy to wonder what the Cardinals are thinking.

World Series Game 1 lineups

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The World Series kicks off Tuesday night at Fenway Park in Boston between the Dodgers and Red Sox. The Dodgers are aiming to take home their first championship since 1988 while the Red Sox haven’t won it all since 2013, a long and arduous five years. Here are the Game 1 lineups along with each player’s postseason stats.

Dodgers

2B Brian Dozier (R)
3B Justin Turner (R)
1B David Freese (R)
SS Manny Machado (R)
LF Chris Taylor (R)
DH Matt Kemp (R)
CF Enrique Hernández (R)
RF Yasiel Puig (R)
C Austin Barnes (R)

SP Clayton Kershaw (LHP)

Red Sox

RF Mookie Betts (R)
LF Andrew Benintendi (L)
1B Steve Pearce (R)
DH J.D. Martinez (R)
SS Xander Bogaerts (R)
3B Rafael Devers (L)
2B Ian Kinsler (R)
C Sandy León (S)
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (L)

SP Chris Sale (LHP)

No surprises here. Both teams loaded their lineups with right-handed hitters against the lefty starters. There won’t be any trickery, either, like what Brewers manager Craig Counsell tried to pull in the NLCS against the Dodgers, starting lefty Wade Miley and pulling him after one batter in favor of right-hander Brandon Woodruff. Both teams expect their respective starters to go deep into Game 1.