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March 7, 2011 - Ron Deuter
There’s been talk about the Cubs trying to lure Albert Pujols, 31, out of St. Louis after this season when he becomes a free agent, giving him the long term deal and record pay he seeks. I say be careful. Haven’t the Cubs played this game several times in the past? How about Alfonso Soriano as a recent example? The Cubs signed Soriano after the 2006 season at the age of 30 to an eight-year $136 million contract. In his last season with the Washington Nationals, Soriano, considered one of the game’s most dangerous players at the time, hit .277 with 46 homers and 95 RBI. Look at his numbers since with that year’s salary:
2007 — .299, 33 HR, 70 RBI ($10 million) 2008 — .280, 29 HR, 75 RBI ($14 million) 2009 — .241, 20 HR, 55 RBI ($17 million) 2010 — .258, 24 HR, 79 RBI ($19 million)
Soriano is signed through the 2014 season when he’ll be 38. He’s scheduled to make $18 million in each of the final four years of his deal. Who knows? Maybe he can find some late-career magic. He’s entering this season fully healthy for a change. Chances are better than not that his best days are behind him.
And chances are the future owner of Pujols’ monster contract will wind up saying the same thing sooner than they think.
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