Sunday, October 30, 2011

Where will Albert Pujols go and how much can he get?

The question that's on everyone's mind is where Albert Pujols will go and how much he can get.

I think there are a few contracts to look at to really get a gauge of the type of contract Pujols can get.

Alex Rodriguez, Age 32, 10 year $275 million
Adrian Gonzalez, Age 28, 7 year $154 million
Mark Teixeira, Age 28, 8 year $180 million
Ryan Howard, Age 30, 5 year $125 million extension

Ryan Howard's extension was given to him after he had completed 1 year of a 3 year contract. So to some extent, the extension is really a contract for Ryan Howard at age 32, not 30.

First, lets look at the Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, and Ryan Howard contracts. Together the three average about $23 million a year, with Ryan's howards $25 million/year the highest. I suppose we can use this as a measurement for what an elite first basemen has been able to obtain over the last few years. Albert Pujols is certainly in a class above these first basemen, so one can reason that he can obtain a premium above these players.

However, there are a few differences between Albert Pujols and these first basemen. Albert Pujols turns 32 in January 2012. Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez were able to obtain their lengthy contracts at an age 3-4 years younger than Albert Pujols. Ryan Howard's 4 year extension perhaps gives an indication of the hesitation teams may have in giving an older first baseman a 7-8 year contract.

On the other hand, Alex Rodriguez was able to receive his 10 year contract at the age of 32, the same age as Albert Pujols. At the time he received the contract, Alex Rodriguez was arguably the best player of his generation and had just won his 3rd MVP. So perhaps its Albert Pujols could get a similar contract?

I have scepticism Albert Pujols can obtain a contract of such magnitude. The baseball marketplace will be much different for Albert Pujols than it was for Alex Rodriguez. First, the two highest spending teams, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, have already secured long term contracts to elite first basemen (Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez respectively). While its always possible those teams may attempt to move those players or attempt to sign Albert Pujols as a DH, the odds are low. With the Yankees and Red Sox presumably out of the picture, it takes two big spending teams off the market in the Albert Pujols sweepstakes.

In addition, the marketplace may not be willing to suffer giving a player in his early 30s a 10 year contract after baseball saw how injuries have affected Alex Rodriguez. In 2011, we saw Alex Rodriguez hit only 16 home runs over 99 games and eek out a measly .823 OPS. Certainly not the production you expect from a player you're paying $27.5 million for.

So taking into account the current "market rate" for elite first basemen, Albert Pujols' success, age, and the removal of the Yankees & Red Sox, it stands to reason that Albert Pujols can get a contract that is better than the other elite first basemen, but less than the Alex Rodriguez contract. If I had to guess, Albert Pujols will get a 8 year contract in the range of $210-$230 million. (As a note, it is rumored the Cardinals offer during the 2011 spring training was 9 years for about $190-$200 million.)

Naturally, that's a conclusion is based on some amount of logic and reason. What can't be determined is if some team will go crazy with a contract. That's the one thing that will be difficult to determine.

So where will Albert Pujols go? Well presumably, the team that signs him will:

A) Need a first basemen or could move their current first basemen
B) Has the financial resources to sign Albert Pujols
C) Has the organizational fortitude to offer such a contract

Based on these criteria, which are the teams that I think have the best shot?

California Angels - Could use a big upgrade over Trumbo. Have signed Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero in past big moves.

Chicago Cubs - New ownership might like to make a splash and take away Albert Pujols from their rivals. Theo Epstein and crew are not shy to big signings. An issue for the Cubs is the lingering big contracts on their roster.

Los Angeles Dodgers - Assuming the financial issues of the owners is settled (it apparently is), could make a run.

San Francisco Giants - A team badly in need of offense. Their signings of Barry Bonds and Barry Zito show the willingness to make a big move.

St. Louis Cardinals - The question is how high will the rest of the league go. If Albert Pujols gets something crazy, its unlikely the Cardinals will bite.

Washington Nationals - When I was first told they could make a run at Pujols, I laughed. But now that I think of it, there's a decent chance. They have shown the willingness to spend money, and while the team isn't a serious contender now, they were 80-81 last year and have a good group of young players.

Teams I don't think it could happen with despite chatter on the topic:

New York Mets - With all their financial issues related to Madoff, my feeling is the Mets can't make a run at Pujols like they normally might try to go after big free agents.

Atlanta Braves - Financially have the resources, but traditionally this organization doesn't go crazy and try to make huge moves.

Baltimore Orioles - Financially good resources, probably organizationally could make the move, but I have a funny feeling Albert Pujols wouldn't want to go to the AL East. The odds of making it to the playoffs ever again are just that much worse when the Yankees and Red Sox are in your division.

Texas Rangers - The fit is good, they could use an upgrade to first base, and they've shown the willingness to throw around money (Cliff Lee). However, I would assume they will go after pitching instead. They got so many good bats in that lineup that more offense isn't a concern.

Well, it'll be an interesting off-season. I'll update this post when we figure out the answer.

Update 12/8/11:

Well, my guesses were pretty on spot on. The push by the Miami Marlins was a tad unexpected, but the players involved were pretty well known. Albert Pujols got a little more many than my guesses, $254 million.

Friday, October 28, 2011

John Kruk Interviews

Was wandering through YouTube looking at random baseball related videos when I came upon these two hilarious John Kruk interviews on Letterman. Classic Kruk ...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Android a stolen product? Yes and No

So after the death of Steve Jobs, a lot of his quotes from his biography have come out. One in particular stands out to me (this chunk is ripped from How Steve Jobs could haunt Android):

“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product,” Jobs told Isaacson. “I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

“Our lawsuit is saying ‘Google, you f---ing ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off.’” He also said he was willing to spend “every penny of Apple’s” then-$40 billion in cash to “right this wrong,” and he vowed to “destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.”

My parents asked me, "Do you think it's true?" My response was yes and no.

Yes, Android implemented some ideas from iPhone.

No, it's not a big deal and the issue is overblown.

There is a great quote I heard along time ago. I can't find it despite my Googling efforts, but it goes something like this:

"The vast majority of research and development is continual iteration and improvement on previous designs. There is very little innovation."

Was Apple Macintosh the first GUI based OS/computer? Nope. Multiple designs were done prior. In fact, there is evidence that Apple modeled Macintosh off of a previous Xerox computer.

Was iPod the first portable digital music player? Nope, there were tons before that played MP3s.

Was iPhone the first technology with a multitouch interface? Nope. It'd been done for years.

In my opinion, this is just what happens in the world of technology. Various companies "borrow" ideas from their competitors and they iterate and improve on them.

When did Facebook support newsfeeds? After Twitter became popular.

When did Google support +1 support? After Digg became popular.

When did Apple support multitasking in iOS? After Android released support for it.

We could go on and on ... This type of iteration has gone on forever. In my opinion, it's somewhat silly to suggest that Google "stole" from Apple, but Apple never stole from others.

To end, I'm reminded of this semi-famous scene in Pirates of Silicon Valley.

While this scene is fiction, I think the analogy is right on.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Albert Pujol's Other Epic Postseason Homerun

After Albert Pujols' epic night tonight (5-6, 3 home runs, 6 RBIs), I was reminded of his previous epic postseason home run. It wasn't in the World Series, but given the situation, it was perhaps more epic. It was game 5 of the 2005 NLCS. Houston was in the 9th inning at home on the verge of going to the World Series.

Brad Lidge was on the mound to close out the game. At this point in his career, Brad Lidge was nearly unhittable. In 2004-2005 Brad Lidge had a 2.07 ERA over 165.1 innings pitched and an insane 260:53 strikeouts:walks ratio. He was particularly effective in the playoffs and the Cardinals in 2004-2005. Prior to game 5 he gave up 1 run over 12 innings, striking out 18 against the Cardinals in the postseason.

Brad Lidge made quick work of the first 2 Cardinals in game 5, striking both of them out. So as you can imagine, the Astros fans were going nuts. They were one out away from going to the World Series and their Cardinals killer was on the mound. In the video below, you can even see George Bush Sr. and Barbara Bush in the first row behind home plate. Then David Eckstein eeked out a hit when the count was 1-2. Then Jim Edmunds worked a walked. Then this happened ...

Notice how Brad Lidge squatted down and realized it was a home run before even bothering to look at it. The ball was absolutely crushed.

While the Cardinals ended up losing game six and the Astros advanced to the World Series, people still remember this home run. Many feel that home run destroyed Brad Lidge's confidence and he was never really the same. He lost 2 games against the Chicago Whitesox in the World Series. In 2006 his ERA ballooned to 5.28 and he even lost his closer job in 2007. He was able to rebound with a great year in 2008 with the Phillies, but he never was ever quite the same again.