(Disclaimer: By no means do I believe this will actually happen and not one person in the Red Sox organization has suggested this is what they will do.)
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Albert Pujols has broken off negotiations for a contract extension with the Cardinals. His agent, Dan Lozano, says the sides will not talk again until after the season.
Let’s add up the expiring contracts the Red Sox have, shall we?
J.D. Drew: $14 million
David Ortiz: $12.5 million
Jonathan Papelbon: $12 million
Mike Cameron: $7.25 million
Adrian Gonzalez: $6.3 million
Jason Varitek: $2 million
Tim Wakefield: $2 million
That’s $56 million.
The Red Sox will sign Gonzalez to a seven-year extension worth around $160 million million. Take that to the bank. They didn’t trade three premier prospects for one year of anybody. The sides have an understanding in place and a deal will get done.
So knock $23 million off that available money. The Sox would will still have $33 million.
Ryan Kalish goes to right field. Daniel Bard (or Bobby Jenks) become the closer. Two spots are filled at low expense.
Pujols is said to want $275 million over 10 years, the same deal that crackpot Hank Steinbrenner gave Alex Rodriguez. At 31, that seems a little extreme. But this is Albert Pujols, after all. The man has a career OPS of 1.050.
Let’s say he dialed it back to eight years and $220 million. Interested in Albert being the DH?
The Sox could pay Pujols his $27 million and still have enough money remaining to fill out the roster and not expand the payroll.
It should not happen. Pujols should stay in St. Louis, one of the best baseball cities in America. He should finish his career there and the Cardinals should pay him what he’s worth on the market.
The Red Sox also shouldn’t have two first basemen signed for $350 million-plus. That is bad business. Eventually they’re going to need that money for the rotation.
But the money is there and if Pujols does become a free agent, don’t the Sox have to at least think about it?