Despite Albert Pujols struggles the last few seasons, he’s still got some power left in his bat. Could a return to the Cardinals jumpstart the back end of his career?
At 42 years old, Pujols probably only has one or two playable years left. He’s open to playing in MLB again after his recent Dominican league stint this offseason.
With Rob Manfred announcing on Thursday that a universal designated hitter will be employed come next season, it opens up the possibility of Pujols getting significant playing time with any National League team, including the Cardinals.
Time heals all wounds, and while most Cards fans were taken aback when Pujols left for Anaheim a decade ago, he remains a St. Louis sports legend. Giving him an opportunity to retire as a Cardinal just seems right. So, what will it cost?
Cardinals: Albert Pujols’ ideal contract
First off, the base salary is unlikely to be much. Pujols knows he’ll put butts in seats, which is why he has some leverage here. Now, this doesn’t mean he can demand $10 million, but a player of his caliber would be making near minimum salary at this juncture without this sort of history.
Pujols is a first ballot Hall of Famer. He is a Cardinals great. Let’s put some respect on his name, and say the Cardinals sign him to a one-year, $3 million contract loaded with incentives.
Now, whether we believe Pujols will reach those incentives is useless. This is a bet on yourself contract, and Pujols surely believes he can reach new milestones in home runs, batting average, RBIs and the like, even though his age suggests otherwise.
A one-year deal worth around $3 million or $4 million, with the potential to make as much as $8 million should he reach certain incentives, is not out of the realm of possibility. Now, it’s important to remember there’s not nearly as much risk here on the Cardinals’ side of things — Pujols is unlikely to reach those numbers, and if he does it’s a great move for St. Louis value-wise.