Thursday, December 8, 2011
Albert Pujols makes more history
There’s no doubting Albert Pujols’ credentials and accomplishments on the diamond. He’s one of six players with at least 400 home runs, 1,300 RBI and a .325 batting average of the course of a MLB career, joining Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.
But, Pujols has now made history off the field by signing a 10-year, $250 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels, just the third $200 million contract in MLB history. The other two were signed by Alex Rodriguez.
The overall length of the deal, 10 years, is also historical, as it’s just the sixth contract of that length to be signed in MLB history.
•Dave Winfield (1981-90): After an eight-year run with the San Diego Padres, Winfield headed to the New York Yankees with a 10-year deal worth in excess of $20 million.
•Derek Jeter (2001-10): With four World Series titles under his belt, Jeter got a 10-year, $189 million deal with the Bronx Bombers. He had nearly 2,000 hits during the length of the deal.
•Alex Rodriguez (2001-10 and 2008-17): Rodriguez became the highest-paid player in baseball history with the first deal, signed with the Texas Rangers, but later traded to the Yankees, and upped it with the second deal.
•Troy Tulowitzki (2011-20): Tulowitzki’s 10-year, $157.75 million contract started this year with a good return, as Tulowitzki hit over .300 with 30 home runs and 105 RBI.
So, what are the Angels getting? They’re getting a player who has never finished outside the top nine in MVP voting, with three MVP awards and a pair of Gold Gloves in his time with the St. Louis Cardinals.
He’s already more than two-thirds of the way to 3,000 hits, and his 445 home runs put him in the top 40 all-time. He’s also the active leader in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage among players with at least 3,000 plate appearances.
The Angels weren’t getting much production out of the third spot in the batting order last season, ranking 10th in the American League in OPS, 13th in home runs and 14th in RBI.
Pujols, on the other side, had a .906 OPS, 37 HR and 99 RBI last season, even with playing 147 games. The 99 RBI was a career low.
Pujols should also benefit from moving from Busch Stadium to Angels Stadium.
Over the last three seasons, there have been 236 home runs hit by right-handed batters in Cardinals home games by both teams, and 326 in Cardinals road games.
That converts to a Ballpark Factor of 74, meaning the park depresses home runs by 26 percent, the second-worst mark in MLB for a right-handed power hitter.
At Angels Stadium, the Ballpark Factor is a near-average 96. So if a right-handed hitter hits 20 homers in a season at Busch, it’d translate to 24.7 in Angels Stadium.
Pujols will have to play a considerable number of road games in Seattle and Oakland, ballparks that are unfavorable to right-handed power hitters, but also will be playing road games in Texas and (in 2013 and beyond) in Houston, which are far more favorable.