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La Russa opposed to long contracts

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Despite his admiration for Albert Pujols, former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa wouldn't have given the power-hitting first baseman a 10-year contract.

La Russa told "ESPN First Take" on Wednesday that any agreement beyond six years comes with significant risk, and sided with his former employers, who let Pujols walk.

"I don't think 10 years was a smart move for the Cardinals," La Russa said. "I think Albert is perfect -- I call him Albert P. Pujols for Albert Perfect Pujols -- but I don't think that I would ever endorse a contract beyond six years, tops."

La Russa added that he wasn't second-guessing the Los Angeles Angels' decision to sign him to a $254-million deal because Pujols is "a great franchise player, so it makes sense for them."

La Russa, who retired after leading the Cardinals to a World Series Championship in 2011, was responding to a question about whether free-agent-to-be Josh Hamilton deserved a similar contract.

"If I'm an executive, whether it's Josh or whether it was Albert last year, I don't know that I would risk more than five, six years on anybody," La Russa said. "It's one of the dangers in our game when an organization is pushed beyond something -- five or six (years) is a big commitment -- when you go longer I think it's scary and dangerous."
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