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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Albert Pujols’ Agent, Dan Lozano, Reportedly Negotiated Team-Friendly Deal in 2004 Because He was Broke

Anyone who is familiar with sports knows about the stereotypes associated with sports agents. They lie, they back-stab, and they tell a player anything he or she wants to hear. An agent will give off the appearance that he is a player’s best friend, but at the end of the day we all know it’s about nothing more than money. Since it is usually strictly about money for the player, the relationship works out nicely. For someone like Dan Lozano, recent accusations could complicate things a bit.

On Tuesday, Deadspin released a lengthy report about Lozano that highlights all the sleaze ball tactics he has used to build his list of All-Star clients that includes Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols. Among the entertaining recollections of running a prostitution ring, sexually harassing employees, and drinking excessively was some information that could be particularly disturbing to Pujols.

The sources who fueled the Deadspin story claim Lozano is a a brilliant chameleon — one who has played the rowdy party animal for guys like Mike Piazza and the Christian church-goer for Pujols and his wife.  In addition to pretending to be someone he is not, Lozano also may have screwed Pujols out of millions of dollars because he was in such serious financial trouble.

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Curt Schilling Questions if Albert Pujols is Worth $25-30 Million a Year

Albert Pujols is scheduled to be a free agent for the first time after completing his existing contract with the Cardinals. The sides were unable to agree on an extension before the season, putting Albert in a difficult spot. He’s worth a lot of money, and he wants to remain with the Cardinals, but it will be hard for St. Louis to keep him if he wants to be paid more than any player in baseball. Former pitcher and current analyst Curt Schilling isn’t sure Pujols is even worth that.

“I’m not sure if eight years … you’re talking about a $200-$250 million deal if the numbers are to be believed. They’re some questions in my mind if this is a 25 or 30 million dollar [player],” Schilling said after the World Series ended. “[He's the] best offensive player in the game — not for a second do I question that. But if I’m going to pay a guy $25-$30 million, I need everything.

“I need that clubhouse presence. I need that guy who stands in front of the media win or lose and doesn’t shirk that stuff off to his teammates. I was a little disappointed after the Game 2 situation. Regardless of what happened, you’re a leader. I don’t want my teammates to have to field questions about me.

“The Alex Rodriguez contract, I don’t think is coming out to be a very good thing for the Yankees and the future of that organization. He’s going to hamstring somebody by signing a contract. If [Pujols] does it [in St. Louis] he’s got the surrounding cast. He goes somewhere else, that might not be the case.”

The A-Rod contract is an argument against paying big money for a slugger in his thirties, but Pujols has always been more consistent than Rodriguez. Still it’s hard to argue with Schilling; when it comes to big-money, long-term contracts, it’s difficult to say a player will be worth the money every year. As good as Pujols is (and I’d love to have him on the Angels), it’s hard to envision him being worth $25 or $30 million in 2018 or 2019 when he’s 38 and 39 years old. That’s what St. Louis has to evaluate when they negotiate with him.

Elvis Andrus Wants Rangers to Walk Albert Pujols Every Time He’s Up

If the Texas Rangers are going to win the World Series, they will have to shake off an ugly, ugly Game 3 loss.  Thanks in part to a missed call by the umpires in the fourth inning, St. Louis went on to win by a video game score of 16-7.  A pretty good Cardinals hitter named Albert Pujols had a little something to do with it as well.

Pujols went deep three times to lead the Cardinals to victory and give them a 2-1 series lead.  If Albert continues to look even close to that good at the plate for the remainder of the series, it will be enough to put St. Louis on his back and take home the trophy.  Unless, of course, the Rangers just walk him from now on.  Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus thinks that would be a pretty good idea.

“We cannot take chances on Pujols,” Andrus said after Game 3 according to the Dallas Morning News. “Everybody knows how good he is. We’ve got to execute pitches. If he doesn’t chase, give him first base. We’d rather seeMatt Holliday beat us than Pujols. You never want to see the best hitter beat you.”

We agree.  In fact, we challenge you to disagree.  There comes a time when you no longer attack a hitter like Pujols — especially in the World Series.  Albert is arguably the best hitter in all of baseball.  The Rangers are better off assuming he’s going to hit a home run every time he steps to the plate.  If the bases aren’t loaded, don’t throw him a strike.

Fist pound to Hardball Talk for the story.