I was clicking through channels Monday afternoon when I stopped to watch the Angels-Twins game on MLB for a few minutes. The feed was from Minnesota and featured Twins announcers Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven.
I know Bremer well from my years in Minnesota -- he and I actually did a few radio shows together -- and I consider him a good announcer. Still, he made a few curious comments about the Angels' signing of Albert Pujols during the short time I had the game on.
I'm paraphrasing here, because I wasn't recording the game or taking notes. Bremer seemed to criticize the Angels for paying Pujols so much for such a long stretch, noting that Pujols will be an old man when the Angels are paying him huge sums next decade.
Though it's a valid point, it sounded odd coming from a broadcaster for the team that employs Joe Mauer.
Pujols has been one of the best hitters ever and has led teams to championships. He never has had anything but outstanding seasons, has avoided serious injury and plays a relatively low-impact position. While it would be a stretch to expect him to produce big-time at the end of his contract, he likely has many, many more great years ahead of him.
Mauer, meanwhile, has been a total bust since the Twins gave him an eight-year, $184 million extension before the 2010 season, and it's hard to imagine them getting anywhere near good value for their investment.
He batted about as soft a .327 as is humanly possible in '10 -- only 75 RBIs for a middle-of-the-order supposed stud protected by Justin Morneau -- and followed that with a horrid, injury-plagued 2011 season. He has barely hit the ball out of the infield so far in 2012.
With a mere 37 HR and 99 RBI for the Cardinals, Pujols was coming off the "worst" season of his career in 2011, which he capped by helping the Cardinals win another World Series.
Mauer? He never has had either 30 HR or 100 RBI in any season; in fact, he's only had one year with more than 13 HR and 85 RBI. He also has "led" the Twins to an 0-9 postseason record, driving in a total of 1 run in those nine games.
And yet the Twins threw $184 million at him. Since getting that deal, this alleged superstar has 12 HR and 106 RBI in 223 games.
Sabermetricians can throw all kinds of fancy stats at me, but sorry ... I want my $184 million ballplayers to drive in a few runs. Shoot me.
Unless he turns things around dramatically, he can only be considered one of the most overpaid, most overrated, least valuable players in baseball.
He is injury prone, he plays a high-impact position and he figures to be a broken-down 35-year-old when the Twins are on the hook for $23 million in 2018.
Yes, shame on the Angels for giving such big money to Albert Pujols.