I don't doubt that agents like Albert Pujols's own Dan Lozano are looking at the huge deals signed by Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford over the Winter Meetings and licking their lips, but I'm not sure the apparent snap-back to inflation of baseball's free agency market has as many implications for Pujols as it would for any other player in baseball. What Werth means is that nobody's getting a bargain this year—except maybe the Cardinals, if Lance Berkman really can play right field. But I don't know that Albert Pujols's likely contract numbers have moved up this year. It's hard, after all, to move up from "Highest-paid player in baseball."â†µ
Pujols seems likely to want more than Alex Rodriguez's average annual salary, which currently stands at $27 million. He'll get ripped for that by the vocal minority that believes hometown discounts are the duty of all good Cardinals, but he's the best player in baseball and he's going to be a free agent next year; where else can you go with that?â†µ
What remains in doubt is just how many years Pujols and company want. Pujols is five years older than Rodriguez was when he signed his first Megadeal, and ten years for a first baseman over 30 would be unprecedented even now—that's not going to change because the Boston Red Sox were really into Carl Crawford.