This morning, the Los Angeles Angels made the biggest splash in baseball's free agent market. They announced that Albert Pujols had signed a 10 year deal worth $250 million. The free agent first baseman had spent his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals, but Pujols was not able to agree on a contract extension with them. He turned down a 10-year deal worth $200 million before the start of last season. The Cards' latest offer was a 9-year deal worth $200 million, but Pujols insisted on 10 years. Then, the Angels entered the sweepstakes with a 10-year $250 million contract and Pujols was quick to accept. 

2011 World Series Game 5 - St Louis Cardinals v Texas Rangers

Pujols will join an Angels team that also added free agent starting pitcher C.J. Wilson (5-years, $77.5 million). Wilson, who anchored the Texas Rangers, was also being pursued by the Florida Marlins. Instead, he will join a rotation that will include: Dan Haren, Jared Weaver, and Ervin Santana. The two moves clearly make the Angels the team to beat in the American League West, and an early World Series favorite.    

One last thought on the Pujols' signing.  I do not blame the Cardinals front office for failing to sign their first baseman to a long term contract. Pujols can generate more revenue playing in Southern California than he would in St. Louis. His best years are behind him, and an aging Pujols will have the luxury of playing designated hitter in the American League for the Angels. The Cards could not overpay for their franchise player (see Alex Rodriguez, Johan Santana, and countless more) and matching or exceeding the Angels' offer would have hurt St. Louis' chances to build a winner around him. The only legitimate criticism you can make is that the Cardinals should have taken care of Pujols two years ago instead of overpaying for outfielder Matt Holliday. I'm sure fans were not complaining two months ago, when Pujols led the team to their 11th World Series championship.

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