Blog Entry

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

Posted on: February 15, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 2:27 pm
Albert Pujols
Say what you want about Tony La Russa, but the man doesn't lack for opinions. And he wasn't shy about one Tuesday, railing on what he perceives as pressure Albert Pujols is getting from the players' union to push for the biggest possible contract regardless of what he'd prefer personally.

"I know what he's going through with the union, and to some extent, his representatives,'' La Russa told reporters.  "His representatives are getting beat up by the union. 'Set the bar. Set the bar.'

"That's bull[expletive]. Purely and truly. You've got to deal with it, but that's not the way it should be.

"It should be, 'Look at all the factors.' Values, loyalty, maybe there's a better opportunity someplace else. Maybe there's a better opportunity than here. All that stuff. But it shouldn't be the most money, the most money, the most money.

"I just know those forces are in place. I don't ask them about it. It's not my place to ask. I don't know much he's going to listen to it or is listening to it. But those are powerful forces."

Does the union apply direct pressure to players to reject any offer but the biggest? It's not really clear, but the concern is common among club executives and some fans. The union's interest is keeping salary levels up for its members. But does Pujols getting $260 million or $290 million really affect the bottom line of the average union member? And isn't what's best for the health of baseball and its individual teams ultimately best for the players?

UPDATE: Union chief Michael Weiner, contacted by, denied that anyone from the union had been involved in the Pujols situation.

"The truth is we've had no conversations with Albert or Danny (Lozano, Pujols' agent) or anybody on Albert's behalf about the numbers in this negotiation. None. It's never been the union's policy to pressure players and certainly it's never been the union's policy to pressure players because they have to set the bar for other players."

-- David Andriesen

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Since: Dec 7, 2010
Posted on: February 15, 2011 5:07 pm

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

I believe the hold up is the years.  10 years at 30 mill a year.. and the cards dont want to pay 30 mil whne he's in his 40's... So why cant the cards pay him 35 each the next 5 years and then 25 last 5 years or some kind of structure like that.  They have the money !!  Another thing to realize is that the Red Sox dont need him now, they have Gonzo.. the Yanks have Tex,  Cubs have no money thanks to contracts that are bad.. so there are not many teams that will bid on him in free agency.  They'll get it done !

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:44 pm

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

no, he has never been accused or even talked about being on roids

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:41 pm

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

Living in the Bay Area the Giants pro rate their pricing as to what team they are playing and the day of the week.  For instance when the Phillies are in town Sunday afternoon bleacher tickets are $50.00 each and when Clevland is in town bleacher for a Sunday afternoon game seats are $30.00.  Albert deserves to get what he can get so when the Cardinals come to town I can pay $75.00 for tickets.  I blame the owners and the players  do they really need $25.00 to park $30.00/$50.00 a bleacher ticket and $9.00 a beer and even $5.00 a soda.  Just remember that they can afford to pay Albert because we will pay to see Albert.  Whether they will or not is another question.

Since: Jun 1, 2007
Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:40 pm

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

This is exactly why MLB is messed up. The way it is now once a player gets to be a superstar like a Pujolis, Fielder, Sabathia then once artibtation is over only NY or Boston can pay him. I don't blame the player it is the system that is out of whack even if a player has a bad year, but is up for artbitration he gets a big raise. It sucks as a fan to see things like this happen and we would like to think the player would step in and take a home town discount, but odds are that won't happen.

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:39 pm

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

Players have taken less than what the union wants them to in order to go to places they want to go.  The poster child for this is Cliff Lee, who is in Philly for less money than the evil empire was offering (not much, but some).  If Al wants to stay in STL at a "discount," then no one should be able to stop him if the offer is on the table.  

This is grandstanding by Tony...nothing more.  I think Albert wants a contract befitting the best player of last 30 or 40 years and the Cardinals simply cannot afford it.  This deal should have been in the works a couple years ago when they could have extended him or 10 years without worrying about him being 41 when the deal ends.  AL has produced for them without complaining since he got there and owes them nothing.  If you should blame anyone, it should be the GM.

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:37 pm

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

  Wasnt Pujos suspected by people to be on Roids? I wonder when he will break down?

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:37 pm

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

Please.....the dude is making $59,523 dollars per DAY right now with his average $14.5million dollar salary and Stl has an option for 2011 which would be $16.0 million. I don't give a rats arse about Albert Pujols but if you are telling me the dude is holding out to make ridiculous money, then I say he already is! All of these ballplayers, playing a kids game no less, have been WAY overcompensated since the early 1990's. I realize it's the owners that gave them that taste of money, but let's get real here. An average day at the ballpark costs an insane amount of money these days! Just what I want to see when I come to St. Louis and pay $300.00 for 4 people to get average seats, $75.00 for 4 hotdogs, 4 sodas and four nachos is some dude standing over at 1st base making $30 million dollars a frickin year! Call me jealous, call me a Cubs fan, call me whatever you want but I am not stupid and this is STUPID!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:36 pm

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

Of course the average player is affected by whatever Pujols does.  Here's why it would behoove the union to push for higher contracts.

With a higher valued contract, it's uplifting for everyone.  Only the best player will get $30 Million, but the second best now gets $27.5 instead of $22.  The third best now gets $25 instead of $20.  It all cascades.  We now have Jason Werth getting a 7 year contract for $126 Million.  Next year's Jason Werth will get 7 years for $135.

Some team will overpay and who's going to be the guy to step up and say, "oh no...I'm not worth that, you should give me substantially less than that.  I'm just average."

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:33 pm

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

Whether it is actual phone calls and meetings to pressure the Pujols camp or just the need to "set the bar for future players" - the union is definitely playing a part in this negotiation - or lack thereof.

I LOVE IT !!!  I said that a long long time ago and it took a popular MLB manager for some people on these boards to believe it.   Unions ALWAYS affect salaries and always will... end of story. 

They will never allow a player that guy to set a lower standard for others... sure, for normal allstars maybe.. but not for Pujols...

Mauer was another great example on Minny.... I heard it all before he signed.... he's from there supposedly or loves it in Minny... loves the team... not a materialistic guy..  he's just like you and me... money isn't everything.. lives a modest life.... BLABLABLA .. He SMOKED THE TWINS... got a record deal for a catcher and one that will not likely be broken for a long time... the union didn't let him take a home team discount either... if that even exists...

And neither will Pujols............

Since: Nov 22, 2008
Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:28 pm

La Russa blasts union over Pujols

Don't expect the Cards to pay Pujols 30 million for 10 years.  Pujols agreed to those contacts in the early part of his career - so don't blame anyone but him and his agent.  Now, they want to get paid - I understand.  But, the "Hometown Discount" has nothing to do with what they Cards are willing to pay him now.  The first 10 years of his career and the money he made means nothing to the Cards organization - it is what you can do for me now - and the next 10 years.  Pujols is the kind of player that is able to produce at a high level for 10 years, but it is risky.  10 years is a very long time in baseball.  Even if he does produce 5 more MVP awards in the next 10 years, what does that matter if they can't afford to bring on other guys to help bring home the championship?  Having the best player in the league means nothing unless you can win championships.  Signing Pujols doesn't improve the Cardinals, it only makes them the same as they were in 2010 - Losing the division to the Reds, and missing the playoffs - Despite having 2 Cy Young Caliber Pitchers, an Elite Outfielder, and the best at First Base.  The Cards need to look to improve their team, not keep it the same.  He is worth every bit of 30 million, just not for the Cards.  Pujols to the Braves!!! 

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