A-Rod & Albert: One and the same? …

The Angels certainly hope not, but seeing them take the field together at Yankee Stadium on Friday, it’s hard not to link the two.

Back on Dec. 13, 2007, a 32-year-old Alex Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $275 million contract extension with the Yankees. That contract is now the only one that trumps the one signed by Albert Pujols, which is for 10 years and $240 million and was signed about a month before his 32nd birthday.

The Angels hope to get a lot more bang for their buck than the Yankees seem to be getting.

A-Rod had a good game Friday, going 3-for-4 with a homer in New York’s 5-0 win, and is still among the best at his position. But he played in just 99 games last year and has been on a steady decline since winning his last MVP in ’07. Now, as he enters Year 5 of 10, A-Rod’s deal looks like one of the worst in baseball. The only major difference between the two contracts is that while Pujols’ is heavily back-loaded, A-Rod got most of his money up front (not sure that matters one way or the other, though).

Through the first seven games — and remember that it’s only seven games and he was bad throughout all of April before turning it around last year — Pujols is homerless while batting only .222 (6-for-27).

Pressure to live up to the contract?

“I can’t speak for Pujols or anyone else,” Rodriguez said. “I think overall, you come into a new city, big market, big expectations and big contract, and it’s natural for you to try to do a little bit too much.”

Prior to Friday’s series opener, Pujols admitted that may be the case.

“Probably; trying to do too much,” he said. “I mean, we’re human. I’m a human. Sometimes that’s going to happen, no matter how you prepare yourself. Sometimes you press a little bit and try to do too much. But I think after a week or two, everything is slowed down. Hopefully it doesn’t take that long.”

When A-Rod signed his most recent deal –which wound up being his second $200 million contract — that much money was basically an anomaly. But recently, the $200 million threshold has been broken by three first basemen — Pujols, Prince Fielder and, most recently, Joey Votto.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future,” Pujols said when asked of the three big contracts signed by first basemen. “All I can tell you right now is where we’re at and the contract that I signed. Take it one day at a time, and then take it 10 years from now and look at how good a contract it was.”

Alden

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