The San Diego Padres exercised their $6.2 million option on Adrian Gonzalez this past week — likely the best deal in baseball. St. Louis likewise held on to Albert Pujols for $16 million — not a bargain, but a reasonable price. It goes without saying that those salary figures are going to go way up in 2011, but they may ultimately reach monumental heights.
Pujols had been expected to sign an extension with St. Louis, but the odds of such have dipped from 75-25 to under 50 percent, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Pujols apparently wants an extension soon, and he wants Alex Rodriguez level money at that. The Cardinals apparently have other priorities, and such could ultimately result in a rift that may make Pujols more likely to be available — but no less expensive.
Gonzalez, on the other hand, is nearly a sure thing to test the free-agent market — even Padres GM Jed Hoyer has said so. When that occurs, he'll apparently be looking for Mark Teixera type money — upwards of $20 million per year, according to Jon Heyman. Given those numbers and the Padres' financial realities, it seems a distinct possibility that all of the Gonzalez-to-Boston rumors will at least result in conversations prior to next season.
Still, why make a trade for a player before a season when you'll be able to sign him after — especially when his value may be as high as it ever will be at the present?