Former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent offered his thoughts on talks between Pujols and the Cardinals with St. Louis' Fox 2 News and suggested that the organization offer Phat Albert the chance to become a part-owner.
"I think Albert Pujols may be the first,” Vincent continued, "because he's going to be entitled to an enormous amount of money. He should take 10 to 15 million dollars a year in regular salary and the rest in the form of a capital asset, an option to buy stock in the Cardinals."The two sides are said to be very far apart after the slugger turned down an offer the Cardinals made two weeks ago. In the meantime, the St. Louis front office is working feverishly to prevent "Albertgeddon" from hitting the Gateway City. With reports that Pujols is looking for a ten-year contract possibly exceeding $300 million, it's hard to imagine a lot of ways the franchise can satisfy their star while still being able to build a winner around him. According to the Fox 2 story, sources within the Cardinals front office say the idea of offering Pujols an ownership stake is not out of the question.
It's an idea that Vincent first proposed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in November 2010. In the piece, Vincent mentions that there is nothing in MLB's bylaws that prevents it. The only stipulation is that the player must sell his shares if he is traded. It's a concept that is very common in business and entertainment and Vincent wonders why athletes looking to maximize their earning power haven't thought of it sooner.
As for Pujols and the Cardinals, it will be fascinating to see if the idea has any legs. With the rule about selling shares in the event of a trade, ownership would work as something of a no-trade clause (making it unlikely the players union will okay it). But now that the seed has been planted, it's very easy to imagine that the next top-of-the-marquee free agent may float the idea to see if it gains any traction.