December 06, 2011
So there's gotta be a Ponzi scheme behind all of this, right?
According to an overnight tweet from SI's Jon Heyman, the Miami Marlins have upped their contract offer to Albert Pujols(notes) to 10 years. The two sides met not once, but twice on Monday, Scott Miller of CBS Sports reports, but a decision does not appear imminent.
So if you're keeping score at home, that's $27 million guaranteed to closer Heath Bell(notes), another $106 million to shortstop Jose Reyes(notes) and a possible outlay in the $225-250 million range — over an entire decade! — to Pujols if he accepts. Oh, and the Marlins are still in on pitcher C.J. Wilson(notes) and he could command anywhere from $85-100 million.
I'm kidding with the Ponzi scheme quip, of course, but you do have to admit that there's a very Ed McMahonesque quality to the "You may already be a winner" money packets the Marlins are floating out there. Once baseball's most notorious cheapskates, the Marlins are turning these meetings in Dallas into those cash booths they used to wheel out at birthday parties at your local roller rink. Whee! Look at it fly! Grab it while you can!
It's great fun to watch, mostly because we don't really know the end game. The New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox can go on comparable spending sprees and we know they have the revenue lines to absorb the contracts, even if one or two of them turn out to be bad. With the Marlins, it's different. They have no solid fan base to speak of and no regional television network to print money for them. Just the new promise of a ballpark and some strong luxury suite and seat sales. Are they really in this for the long run or just a two- or three-year stretch before the real bills come due? We don't know.
It's also fun to watch because it puts the St. Louis Cardinals in the position of having some real competition. Their slim hopes of a real market never materializing and being able to stick to their offer from spring training are effectively out the window and now some real decisions need to be made. While Pujols may have just gotten the best early Christmas gift ever — an outside bid that gives him the leverage to get the money he wants from St. Louis — it's going to be an interesting ride to get there if that indeed turns out to be the case.
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