The Miami Marlins stayed busy during the winter meetings, but most of the discussion came over an irrelevant event: Signing Albert Pujols. At times it seemed the Fish were on the brink of inking the superstar, but it seemed there was always a hurdle to overcome. Regardless, the organization made it very clear they wanted Albert Pujols in Miami. Offering a 10 year, 200+ million dollar contract, Jeffrey Loria made it known that he could spend money with the best in the business. However the strict trade clause rule along with the constant battle between the Cardinals and Angels made the process go slower, forcing Miami to withdraw their offer. I will be the first to admit I was disappointed in the news. I stayed up all Tuesday night envisioning a Pujols signing, prematurely picturing a line-up that would have the superstar headlining an already talented group of hitters. When the news leaked out about the Marlins withdrawing their offer I let my greed show by showing disappointment. However in reality this should be good news and be celebrated by our fan-base.
There’s no getting around it, Albert Pujols is a superstar. One of, if not, the best hitter in the game, Pujols is literally respected by the entire league. With constant mind blowing averages, major home run numbers, a gold glover, Pujols is already a lock for the hall of fame at the age of 31. So why is not signing him a good idea? The contract. Pujols is still a league top hitter and should be looked at as the best in the game. Still, 31 is not considered young and his numbers last year are not considered normal in his expected standards. While many fans refuse to admit it, Albert is aging. Not only would the mega contract force a huge dent in the payroll, but we would be stuck with an aging Pujols for ten years! Yes I know, a decreasing Pujols is still better than the majority of the league, but what about in 5 more years? I am no verified expert, but I am confident in saying Albert will not be a top ten hitter at the age of 36. Heck, a number of players retire in the mid thirty’s because of the decreasing amount of production. Pujols will be no different in the fact that he will begin to slow down in performance and production. Forking out a 10 year contract means that no matter the production, your stuck with an old and getting older first baseman that turned out to be “not worth the money.” Pujols would be 41 by the time his contract is up, and I am confident is saying he would not be a necessity then.
Don’t get me wrong, this article is by zero means downplaying Pujols. I have given him his credit by saying he is one of the best in the game. But any sports maniac like myself knows it is common since that a decline is on the horizon. So I ask Marlin fans this: Would you prefer a declining Pujols for ten straight years, or let Gaby Sanchez have his shot with Loria pulling out the money if he turns out to not be the answer? Personally I prefer the second option because it is safer and offers benefits as well. Gaby showed the baseball nation he too can play the game at a high level. Being the Marlins only all-star, Gaby started his season on fire. Showing good contact, above average power, while playing great defense, Gaby looked and played the part of a good first baseman. Hitting a cold slump effected his numbers a bit, but he managed to finish strong to turn a decent year into a good year. Gaby has the potential to be our future first baseman, it is up to him in tackling the moment and embracing the opportunity.