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.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?