Do you ever have a dream that is so fantastic and real, that when you wake up you are very disappointed? That’s how it is for many of us lately when we think of the possibility of the Royals making a push to sign potential free agent Albert Pujols after the 2011 season.
There are several ways to look at it and I cannot think of a single negative for making the offer. Even if the offer is rejected the Royals should shout it from the rooftops and issue a press release. The buzz that just the offer would make would be a nice topic of conversation in offices, homes and ballparks all over the Midwest. The Glass family would be given credit for putting their money on the table for the best player in the game. For once you would not have the “what players are you going to surround him with?” negative responses. The Royals will have the players to build a team around him, for 2012 and beyond.
As long as I can remember, it hasn’t made any sense for his team to go after a top free agent. Most would not even consider talking to Kansas City since they have put such a horrible product on the field. The Royals could not even make offers without being laughed at. There are those that would laugh at this dream as well, but once you lay out your case, and they actually seriously think about it, they seem to not be as firm in their ridicule.
30 million dollars a year, for 10 years. During interviews from Florida on Thursday, Albert was saying that what is being reported is not even close to reality. What actually is reality when you are talking about numbers like that? It’s amazing what baseball has become isn’t it? Dream with me for a little bit. To make the payroll easier to make, and with the Royals youth being fairly low dollar the next 2-3 years, you could heavily front load the contract. Maybe like this, 3yrs@40, 4yrs@30 and 3yrs@20. This way, while the young players are at their lower salaries, you would pay the most to Pujols. Then when service times start hitting the salaries for players like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, Albert’s pay would be less. And if after 3-4 years, the grand experiment is not successful, the front loaded contract makes it easier to find a trade partner that would take on his contract.
I am sure you may have heard this topic or similar proposals. I even heard the ESPN Baseball Today podcast from 2/15 where Eric Karabell said that it’s looking like Pujols “…doesn’t want to come back to the Cardinals, it’s starting to look like he wants to be a Cub or a Royal or whatever else he wants to be.” It is nice to hear a Royals reference on ESPN, without negativity being the driving factor. Still the thought that amazes me is that the Royals are even in this position. They could actually consider making a run at the best player in the game. Also amazing is the fact that even for the skeptical observers it is hard to shoot down. Sure it can be done, who would have thought just 1 or 2 years ago that the Royals would even be close to being mentioned as a possible factor in the biggest sports story this spring.
Perhaps the smarter solution would be to go after some other top tier free agents next off season and maybe some top starting pitching. Among those who would be free agents after the 2011 season include Rich Harden, Roy Oswalt, or Scott Kazmir. Talk of pursuing one of the players from that list would also generate excitement, especially if the Royals’ highly touted prospects perform well for the organization during 2011. If the Royals, one year from now have not made a splash of some kind via free agency, I will be surprised. The fans are very hungry while some of them are still asleep to be honest. In this dream, they would wake up and begin to see that light at the end of the long dark tunnel which is October baseball in Kansas City.
For almost 20 years, the Royals DID have one of the best players in the game at the time in #5 George Brett. The town buzzed about the Royals. It bled Royal blue because Kansas City had a winner. The Royals were among the BEST. That number 5 made history here in Kansas City, who would have thought that Kansas City would perhaps have a chance at another “one of the best” in the game, another number 5?
What’s that you say? Oh yeah… I need to let the dog out. I hate mornings!