Friday, February 11, 2011

Holliday's Altruistic Gesture is Nice, but Not Enough

Christmas was almost two months ago, but Matt Holliday appears to still be in the spirit of giving.  On ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike this morning, Holliday told fill-in Doug Gottleib that he'd be willing to defer a significant portion of his annual salary to help the Cardinals retain Albert Pujols.
"I deferred $2 million a year for the whole contract," Holliday told Doug Gottlieb on the show, "and I would be willing, if they came to me and said, 'Hey, this is what it's going to take to get Albert done, would you do it again or do more?' Scott [Boras, Holliday's agent] probably wouldn't like me to stay that, but if that's what it took, I would be willing to do that."
A couple of things come to mind.

Number one.  Holliday made it very clear that he hasn't been approached by the Cardinals front office regarding this scenario.  This was his idea, and his idea alone.  It's purely hypothetical at this point. 

Secondly, Holliday is already deferring $2M of his annual $17M salary each year through 2016.  Realistically, how much more is he willing to defer to ensure Pujols stays with the Cardinals?  $3M a year?  $5M a year?  Doubtful, but that's how much it would probably take to make a realistic impact.

Let's just assume for a second that Holliday agrees to defer an additional $4M per season, thus bringing his annual salary down to $11M.  While the additional money available certainly helps bridge the gap financially, it only solves the lesser of the two major issues keeping Pujols and the Cardinals from coming to an agreement.  The biggest difference between the two parties is not the average annual salary, but the length of the contract itself.  Pujols and Lozano have been pretty rigid in their demands for a ten year deal.  The Cardinals, on the other hand, would prefer to keep it to six or seven years.  How the two parties bridge that gap, I'm not sure.  I can say with all certainty that no amount of deferred salary (whether Holliday's or others) will put a dent in the philosophical differences between the two sides when it comes to contract length.

Matt Holliday's gesture is incredibly altruistic, but likely won't have any impact as to whether Pujols re-signs or chooses to seek employment elsewhere via free agency.

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