Saying his client is "on an island by himself," one of Albert Pujols’ agents hints that Ryan Howard’s contract extension won’t be a large factor in negotiations with the Cardinals on a new deal
"We have to pay attention to any significant multi-year deal, especially one signed by a big first baseman. But the reality is that there are no comparables for Albert. He is on an island by himself," Dan Lozano tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss.
Howard last week agreed to an extension that guarantees him $125 million over five years. The pact includes an option that could push it to $138 million over six years. Howard, then, will average between $23 million and $25 million a year. It is believed Pujols could command more than the $27.5 million per year for Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, the game’s highest-paid player.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak chooses his words carefully when discussing how Howard’s contract affects the Pujols talks. "People may ask questions about how Ryan Howard affects Albert. It’s completely different," Mozeliak tells the Post-Dispatch. "It will be market driven."
For his part, Pujols says he wants to keep the focus off himself.
"I look at this as his time," Pujols says of Howard. "It’s a great thing for him. It’s not about me. I’m not getting into what it means to me for Ryan Howard to get $25 million. That’s a slap at him. I want to leave that alone."
The Cardinals have a $16 million club option on Pujols for the 2011 season, which it is expected to exercise.
St. Louis likely will also need to monitor negotiations involving Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who are in line for large contracts in the near future. The Padres have a club option for 2011 on Gonzalez; Fielder can become a free agent after the ’11 season.