Adrian Gonzalez signed the latest major contract for a first baseman Friday, taking seven years and $154 million from the Boston Red Sox. That's $22 million a season, averaged out, just below Ryan Howard's absurd and ostensibly market-setting contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, which still hasn't taken effect. Gonzalez is considerably better than Howard, and three years younger, so that looks like a good deal for the Red Sox here at the outset. The Post-Dispatch's baseball writers are ambivalent as to what this might mean for the Cardinals' offseason negotiations with Albert Pujols.â†µ
Bernie Miklasz takes the skeptical position—he says that Howard's average annual value continues to set the market for Pujols and his people, which is another reason to glare angrily at the Phillies, who overpaid their hulking first baseman and did it so early that the Cardinals are required to live with it. Jeff Gordon considers it another point in the market's $22-25 million valuation of elite first baseman, and Goold summarizes the line of reasoning by suggesting that it "doesn't skew the market in a new direction, just in the same direction."
Pujols is sui generis as a player, and I can't imagine another market-value contract is going to provide a lot of grist for either side in negotiations. If this changes anything it just makes it considerably less likely that the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees are significant players in the Albert Pujols free agent chase.â†µ