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Think Tank

The Baseball Bubble: Is Albert Pujols Worth $254 Million?

Albert Pujols is probably the best hitter in baseball. But is he worth $260 million?

With a World Series title under his belt, but also coming off his worst professional season (Pujols failed to hit .300 and drive in 100 runs for the first time in his 11-year career), the soon to be 32-year old slugger just signed a 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Angeles. 

A good point of comparison is Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees star who set the previous high water mark when he signed a 10-year $250 million deal with the Texas Rangers. So how did that work out for the Rangers? As A-Rod racked up MVP awards, the Rangers languished in last place. Eventually the team dumped A-Rod's contract on the Yankees, who have seen his health and skills decline in recent years. This past season, with a chance to send his team to the World Series, A-Rod struck out in his last at bat, ending the Yankees' season. 

The Angels were able to splurge on Pujols because they recently inked a lucrative new TV deal, and there is every reason to believe the team will get a nice return on their investment in Pujols, at least initially. But how good will their long-term investment look when Pujols is 41 going on 42, and the Angels will still be obligated to pay him over $20 million per season?

As the former player Dave Winfield tweeted, "It'll be 30 yrs ago I signed a 10 year deal w/NYY. It'll be interesting to see how long A. Pujols stays strong and productive, no easy feat!"

The Angels were not the only team participating in the Albert Pujols sweepstakes. The Miami Marlins, for instance, were also prepared to splurge on the slugger after having just signed another prized free agent, Jose Reyes. 

The owners of these teams seem confident in the ever-increasing value of their franchises. But how high can it go before the bubble bursts? The A-Rod contract, for instance, is now regarded as a poor decision, the product of a bygone era of excess. Will the Angels' decision come back to haunt them as well? Let us know what you think. 

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @DanielHonan

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