The Pujols’ negotiation was not based on infatuation but on negotiation. The Angels’ offer appealed to Pujols and his agent, Dan Lozano, because it was decidedly better than any other he received.
At the beginning of last week’s winter meetings, the newly-named and housed Miami Marlins made a big splash, offering a 10-year deal. But it reportedly included enough deferred money to reduce the present-day value of the package significantly, and the Marlins declined Pujols’ request for a no-trade clause in the contract.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals, whose talks for a contract extension Pujols cut off at the start of last spring training (rejecting a 9-year $198 million proposal), began post-season negotiations with a five-year $130 million offer.
With 10-year offers in the air and on the table, that proposal grew to $210 million for 10 years. As with the Marlins’ offer, though, this one included a significant amount of deferred money. One person told me the Cardinals proposed deferring $30 million for 20 years without interest.
Since the deal was not accepted, the people who usually compute present-day value of contracts that include deferred compensation didn’t do the math, but as a rule of thumb I have used in such instances in the past, I think it’s safe to figure that the $30 million deferred would produce a present-day value of roughly have [sic] that amount. That means the Cardinals’ $210 million offer was really under $200 million, say $195 million at most.
The Angels came in with their 10-year offer of $254 million – nothing deferred – and also, the Post-Dispatch said, loaded with bonuses for milestone incentives that could make the package worth more than $280 million. ...
In terms of money, though, the argument could be made that the Cardinals’ offer provided Pujols with enough money and how much more did he need. But if you reduce the Cardinals’ $210 million because of the deferred money and raise the Angels’ $254 million offer because of the potential bonuses, the difference becomes more than a paltry few million a year. ...
Fay Vincent, the former baseball commissioner, thinks the Cardinals and other teams with such high-priced superstars could and should do something else. Taking a cue from Hollywood, where he once ran Columbia Pictures, Vincent believes the time has come for teams to pay part of an expensive contract in team equity.
Instead of paying astronomical salaries, he says, give player a small ownership share of the team, and when he leaves the team, he can sell the share back to the team. The player would benefit from the plan as well as the club because his capital-gains tax would be less than his income tax.
Earlier this year I saw an isolated mention of the Cardinals having made such a proposal but having Pujols reject it, but I have not confirmed that development.
If it did happen, it would not surprise me if the player rejected the idea because his agent would strongly oppose it. Agents want their commissions now, not 5 or 10 years from now when the player might sell back his share of the team and receive his monetary share.
Come to think of it, owning a piece of the team might induce greater loyalty on both sides.
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