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Tony La Russa: Albert Pujols Has Been ‘In Pain’ Since Signing with Angels

Breathe, Angels fans: not physical pain. They say money isn’t everything. Surely there are plenty of unhappy billionaires in the world, but that doesn’t mean we have to feel sorry for them. Albert Pujols just inked a contract that guarantees him $245 million over the next ten years of his life. Most of us would cut off a finger for that type of financial security, but his former coach says Pujols is not completely satisfied with his life.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Pujols has been “in pain” since he decided to sign with the Angels.

“I know it was a painful decision and it pains him now,” La Russa said. “He deserves what he got. He earned it. There’s no bad guy here. I think the Cardinals went where they thought they should go. If they can’t go farther, they shouldn’t. I believe in Albert’s case he was disappointed there wasn’t more enthusiasm from the Cardinals. The (Miami) Marlins came at him hard and then here comes Anaheim. I think that the Cardinals were being careful.”

If the things Deidre Pujols said earlier in the week are true, it is plausible that Pujols could be hurt by the lack of aggression the Cardinals showed in trying to retain him. That being said, the guy just made a quarter of a billion dollars.  La Russa obviously has a great relationship with both Pujols and the Cardinals organization, so he has no choice but to tread lightly.  Pain or no pain, Pujols shouldn’t expect any sympathy from the people who have turned his jersey into a money symbol.

Fist pound to Hardball Talk for passing the story along.

Albert Pujols’ Wife Says the City of St. Louis has Been Deceived

In all likelihood, we will never know the real reason Albert Pujols ended up in an Angels uniform.  Some will insist it was about the money.  Angry Cardinals fans have demanded an explanation from Pujols, a player they insist lied when he said he wanted to be a Cardinal for the rest of his life.  It’s quite possible he was simply telling the fans what they wanted to hear when he made that statement, or it’s possible it was the truth.  Perhaps Pujols made that statement assuming the Cardinals would match any free agent offer he received and not expect him to give them a hometown discount.  Albert’s wife, Deidre Pujols, tried to bring some clarity to the situation on Monday.

“When you have somebody say, ‘we want you to be a Cardinal for life,’ and then only offer you a five-year deal, it kind of confused us,” Deidre told 99.1 Joy FM in St. Louis.

The Cardinals’ initial offer to Pujols was reportedly for five years and $130 million.  Contract negotiations always need a starting point, but that sounds more like C.C. Sabathia money.  When you take into account the fact that the Red Sox gave Carl Crawford a seven-year, $142 million contract, you can understand why Pujols’ wife called the offer an “insult.”  The Cards’ final offer is said to have been 10 years, $210 million with $30 million deferred with no interest.  It was still far too low.

“I’m going to tell you what, listeners especially, had that offer been given to us with a guarantee (i.e. no deferred money), we would have a Cardinal on our bat,” Deidre continued. “Albert and I never, not one time ever, made plans to leave this city. We had no reason, not one reason, to want to leave. … People were deceived by the numbers.”

Fans have already begun customizing their Pujols’ jerseys and newspapers have accused him of turning his back on the city, but none of us know what went on behind closed doors.  The Angels gave Pujols $254 million without a cent deferred.  The fact that Pujols took the deal would seem to indicate money was important to him.  It could also show that the Angels cared more about acquiring him than the Cardinals cared about keeping him.

Albert Pujols Takes Out Full-Page Ad to Thank Fans in St. Louis

At the moment, the fans of St. Louis are not all that pleased with Albert Pujols.  He told them all that he intended to finish his career in a Cardinals uniform and then skipped town for a few million bucks.  When Cardinals fans see the No. 5 on the back of a Pujols jersey now, they will likely see it as a money symbol like this one.  In any event, Pujols did spend a lot of years in St. Louis and was part of two World Series teams.  For that reason, he decided to give the fans the thank you ad treatment in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — the same paper that pictured him as a villain when the big announcement came in on Thursday.  Here is a picture of the one-page ad with transcript below.

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Albert Pujols in 2009: ‘Money Is Not Everything’ an Open Email Reply from LBS

Albert Pujols stunned the sports world by announcing he was signing with the Angels Thursday, accepting the 10-year $254 million deal they offered. He left behind St. Louis — a city, franchise, and fan base he proclaimed to love — to sign with a new team. It’s left the Cardinals community hurt, upset, and feeling betrayed. I’d like to take a moment to express my thoughts to Albert Pujols in an open email inspired by Hotmail.

Dear Albert,
You have put together one of the best starts to a career in baseball history. You are one of the game’s biggest sluggers. You’ve won three MVPs, made nine All-Star Games, and you helped lead St. Louis to two World Series titles. You’re already a lock for the Hall of Fame. But your choice to leave St. Louis and sign with the Angels — a decision that pleases me as an Angels fan — has left me perplexed.

From 2004-last season, you played on one of the most team-friendly contracts in history. You probably outproduced the contract by triple your earnings. You never demanded an extension, and you never demanded the Cardinals give you a better deal.

In 2009, you said in an interview when asked why you hadn’t pursued an extension that “money is not everything. It’s better to have a competitive team that can go to the postseason.”

I respected you for that answer. It was nice to hear a ballplayer say that winning was more important than the money. But now that you’ve taken more money than the Cardinals were offering, I want to know why you changed your mind.

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St. Louis Stores Give Away Albert Pujols Gear for Free ‘It’s Not About the Money’

Albert Pujols did the unthinkable in the minds of many St. Louis fans. He left the only franchise for whom he had played and signed a massive 10-year $254 million contract with the Angels. Cardinals fans felt even more disrespected when GM John Mozeliak said Pujols did not give St. Louis a chance to match or top the Angels’ offer. The news that Pujols left the franchise, fans, and city he claimed to love, for more money, has the people in St. Louis irate.

One sports apparel chain decided to send a message by giving away their remaining Pujols gear for free.

“It’s not about the money,” Pro Image store owner Paul Russo explained. “Just like Albert said. Except he lied, and we didn’t.”

Russo says his Pro Image stores in St. Louis stopped purchasing Pujols apparel weeks ago because they knew there was a possibility he would sign elsewhere. They reportedly had given away nearly all of their stock — 150 shirts and jerseys — in a matter of hours. I guess it’s a small consolation prize to fans who just lost their franchise icon. Personally, we think this would have been the best use of the leftover jerseys.

Fan Makes No. 5 on Albert Pujols’ Jersey into a Money Symbol (Picture)

Nothing can rile a fan base up quite like their star player leaving town.  The most dramatic example of this sports has ever seen was probably when LeBron James left Cleveland and took his talents to South Beach.  When that happened, we saw LeBron bobbleheads thrown in urinals, a dollar stores changing its prices to poke fun at King James, and even a book that was written calling him a whore.  Other fans who have become upset with players for one reason or another turn to jersey burning, but it’s nice to see there are still a few original ideas kicking around out there.  Check out what this Cardinals fan did with his Albert Pujols jersey:

You can expect to see plenty of these bad boys around St. Louis come April.  It should be noted that the Marlins are actually believed to have been the highest bidder for Pujols, having offered a $275 million deal that could have been raised to $300 million with incentives.  However, he did refuse the Cardinals’ offer which is said to have been less than what the Angels offered.  We will likely never know if money was the deciding factor for Albert, but as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch showed us earlier Cardinals fans feel betrayed.  A+ for this one for coming up with an original way to scold a former idol.

Post-Dispatch Says Albert Pujols ‘Turns His Back on St. Louis’ (Picture)

Albert Pujols has signed with the highest bidder.  Given what we know about today’s day and age, that should come as a shock to absolutely no one who pays even a little bit of attention to professional sports.  As Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown reported Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Angels swept in out of nowhere and offered Pujols a monstrous 10-year contract that is believed to be worth between $250-$260 million.  The last reported offer from St. Louis was in the range of $210-$220 million, so as you can see Pujols decided to take the extra $30-$40 million and run.

Most fans would probably take it too, but good luck getting them to admit that.  You certainly won’t hear anyone in St. Louis admitting it, as evidenced by the LeBron James treatment the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave Pujols on the front page of their website after the deal was announced.

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