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The Albert Pujols $hakeout

Courtesy: AP

$254 Million for 10 years.

It's not everyday someone receives a contract as enormous as that one - then again, it's not everyday a player the caliber of Albert Pujols comes around.

Upon hearing the news that Albert Pujols will somehow take his talents to Long Beach, or some beach near Anaheim, it issued a specific type of feeling that we've seen and felt before. It seemed almost like a cross between Alex Rodriguez's blockbuster signing with Texas ten years ago, and the colossal trainwreck that was "The Decision" just last year.

How can a man so beloved and revered in St. Louis pack up and head west to play for a team that no one had on the radar as a possible destination?

Pujols was guaranteed a statue in front of New Busch Stadium when his playing days were over.

Not very likely now.

Instead, the Pujols signing continues a growing trend in sports where loyalty seems to run about as long as the numbers you produced last season. We saw it with Alex Rodriguez ten years ago in Seattle. We saw it last yer in Miami with LeBron James, in Denver with Carmelo Anthony, and now with Albert Pujols in St. Louis. Gone are the days when players played decade-plus careers with one team, and that team, even in his twilight years, returned the loyalty in some form of grace. In an age where the pie is growing tremendously, it seems loyalty comes in the form of green, and the quantity of it determines that commitment.

Personally, I would have loved for Albert Pujols to stay in St. Louis. With such a great fan base and a legacy that was nearing epic proportions, Pujols had the ability to be Mr. Cardinal. He had the chance to pass Stan Musial as the all-time face of the franchise. Think about that again. Passing Stan Musial!

While leaving St. Louis by no means will diminish his abilities, that opportunity of being immortalized is no more. If Pujols completes this ten year deal, it would effectively give him eleven years with the Cards, and ten with the Angels. And by then, he'd have a split legacy, and a very confusing debate of which hat to wear when he enters the Hall of Fame.

Yet, what is done is done. With Pujols donning the Angel halo on his cap now, there are a few tidbits that might make the Pujols signing interesting.

1. Heel Pujols - Everyone loves to hate the superstar athlete that leaves his initial team for the big money deal. Ask Alex Rodriguez. And everyone especially hates if that player is one of the best players in the game. Ask LeBron James. However, with such hate, comes interest, and now the Angels along with the other additions by way of breaking the bank, are primed to make a run for a World Series title. The deal ultimately gives the game another team of interest, and all eyes will be on The Money Machine.

2. Pressure - If Albert somehow can rise above the hate, the pressure of performing to the contract just might get to him. Once again, all eyes will be on Pujols.

3. Old Machine vs. New Machine - Odds and father time would suggest that when Pujols' career is over, his eleven years in St. Louis would outproduce the next ten years in Anaheim. Is his best baseball behind him? We shall see. 

4. The Machine Becomes a Mega Star - DP devotees know I've been clamoring for years for Pujols to be marketed by Major League Baseball. For some reason, the games best player has never been lauded the way he should comparable to other rare talents in sports. However, playing in the Los Angeles market will now make Pujols a huge star. Arte Moreno and the Angels just signed a huge $150M television contract with Fox Sports. The Angels are now in the same payroll stratosphere as the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies. And according to various reports from the press conference where the Angels showed off their new toys, Pujols #5 jerseys sold at $180 a piece, t-shirts at $40, and hats at $50, were all sold out - twice! That's twice in the span of hours. Kobe and Blake Griffin must now make room for King Albert. 

5. What happens in St. Louis? - Well, at least they weren't burning his jersey. However, unlike the James situation in Cleveland, no one believes this will cripple the franchise and the St. Louis community. The Cardinals have always been a class organization, and are always about team. Somehow, someway, no one doubts a fight to defend their title.  

6. Designated Rest - No question that the DH spot will help prolong the career of Pujols. Hopefully, a continued successful one.

7. Pujols in the Bronx - This is more of a personal one, as now yours truly will be able to see the talent that is Albert Pujols a lot more. Although...I'm sure, eventually, I'll learn to dislike this move once he starts raking against my Yankees.

Nonetheless, the next chapter in Albert Pujols career is one that will be very interesting, and is very, very good for the overall health of the game.

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