To many, it was shocking that Albert Pujols decided to leave familiar territory in St. Louis and sign with the Angels on Thursday. But maybe even more shocking is the fact that the Halos’ offer wasn’t even the biggest that Pujols received.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Marlins were actually the highest bidders for Pujols, who will earn $254 million over the life of his new 10-year contract with the Angels. Miami offered the slugger $275 million but Pujols ultimately decided to head out to Southern California, which is presumably where he’ll finish his career.
With ownership trying to attract fans to a brand new stadium in Miami, the Marlins have been linked to many big names since the start of the winter meetings. They’ve already locked up shortstop Jose Reyes to a new six-year deal worth $106 million and also signed closer Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million contract. In the end though, the club couldn’t catch the biggest fish of all (no pun intended), as Pujols heads West to play with the Halos.
The Angels seemingly came out of nowhere to not only outbid the Cardinals but also impress Pujols enough for him to take less money to sign in Southern Cal. Alex Rodriguez was the only player to secure a contract worth more than $200 million before Pujols signed his deal, although it’ll be interesting to see how much Prince Fielder eventually signs for once he chooses a destination. He’s now the most attractive name left on the market, and should receive plenty of high-priced offers over the next couple of days.
As for the Cardinals, they fell nearly $50 million shy of the Angels’ offer for Pujols, who said back in spring training of last year that he wasn’t going to take a hometown discount to stay in St. Louis. His previous contract was very club-friendly, so the Cards knew they would have to pony up this time around if they wanted to keep his services. In the end, it obviously wasn’t enough. Now the defending World Series Champions are left to pick up the pieces from an offseason that not only saw their long-time manager Tony La Russa retire, but also their best player and most marketable star leave for a bigger contract.