Dave Cameron’s piece in today’s WSJ presents a simple calculation of Albert Pujols’ value. Cameron’s analysis leads him to conclude that Pujols “deserves to be the highest-paid player in baseball history,” at a rate very close to what Pujols is reportedly asking from the Cardinals. This makes sense to me, given his production and the healthy revenues coming into MLB. But it doesn’t appear that the Cardinals see it that way.
Cameron credits Pujols with producing an average of 8 WAR (wins above the hypothetical replacement player) per season. With WARs pegged at $5 million each, his market value is an estimated $40 million per season. Pujols’ salary of $15 million (below both Carpenter and Halliday on the Cards!) implies that he generated $25 million in economic rent for the Cardinals last year alone, and he can be expected to make a similar contribution this season. The Cards have thus done extremely well by Pujols in recent years, and it would be a shame to see negotiations fail. But as a Houston Astros fan, I kinda hope they do. Taking away 8 wins from the Cards, with one of them switching to the Astros column, would improve a young Houston team’s chances in the coming years.