Albert Pujols Contract Backload is Pragmatic, Not Panic

The Texas two-steppin' bro-fest fistbump and pump is underway in earnest among Rangers fans at news that the Angels contract with Albert Pujols is heavily backloaded in pay (MLB Daily Dish Breaks It Down). By the final season of the contract (2021), Pujols will be getting paid $30 Million per season to compensate receiving "just" $12 Million in 2012 and $16 Million in 2013. They are popping champagne corks in Arlington just like they did with one strike to go in the elimination game of the 2011 World Series. And just like then, it is too soon before the days of never begin.

In paying Pujols an escalating salary over ten years and C.J. Wilson a gradually increasing payday in each of his five seasons in Anaheim as well, Arte Moreno has simply compensated for the bloated contracts of Vernon Wells (who the Angels will pay $21 million in each of the next three seasons) and Torii Hunter ($18.5 Million in 2012, the fifth and final year of his contract). In 2012, the salaries of Pujols, Hunter and Wells will add up to $52 Million. In 2016, the salaries of Jered Weaver, Wilson and Pujols will add up to $56 MIllion. Oh wow, $4 million that the Angels are spending in their terror of Texan dominance? No Angel except Albert is signed beyond 2016 - so the costs then can be mitigated from then on if necessary. In other words: This is dull bean-counting with little emotion and no mind paid to the Arlington Whiteline addictions.

This is as far from a panic move as can be imagined. Any attempt to sell the Angels pragmatism as scaredy-cat-itis is coming from one place: the gulf of agony between the baseball and the tip of that extended Nelson Cruz glove in Game 6.

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