The Baseball Desert

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Long-term view

I may not understand all the subtleties of player contracts, arbitration and free agency, but I do understand that the rumoured eight-year deal between Albert Pujols and the Cardinals would be huge.

It was interesting to read the comparison between Pujols and the Braves' Andruw Jones (who was awarded a record $8.2m in 2001):

The arbitration process is based on statistical comparisons between players who fall within one year of each other in major-league service.

Jones' landmark judgment came after his fourth complete major-league season. With one less year of service time season, Pujols' numbers in some cases surpass Jones. At the time of his record award, Jones had 116 home runs and 361 RBIs and a career .272 average. Jones had batted .300 only once (.303 in 2000). Pujols carries a .334 average and has hit 114 home runs with 381 RBI in 186 fewer games.

It's not a case of Jones and Pujols not being in the same ballpark - it's almost as if they're not even playing the same game. Those kinds of numbers go a long way to explaining why the Cardinals might be trying to acquire Pujols' services through 2012 at a time when even three- or four-year deals are making clubs wary...