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Logic Failure and the Alex Rodriguez contract

Over at ESPN, there is a piece by Jason Rosenberg about the Albert Pujols pending free agency and what teams can afford him.

The problem is, he starts with a hugely flawed premise, one that once again invokes Alex Rodriguez:

Let's give it some thought. Some of you may be old enough to remember the 10-year, $252 million contract that Alex Rodriguez signed with the Texas Rangers in 2001. History's judgment is that this contract crippled the Rangers -- that after signing A-Rod, the Rangers lacked the wherewithal to do anything else. If we do the math and figure that the Rangers' payroll was around $100 million in the early years of A-Rod's contract, that would mean that the Rangers had about 25 percent of their payroll committed to one player. Let's establish a rule of thumb and say that no team should devote more than 25 percent of its payroll to any single player since the 25 percent allocated to A-Rod was enough to stifle an organization. This is simple asset allocation theory with a baseball application. Quick math indicates that if Pujols is going to make $30 million a year, then only teams with a payroll in excess of $120 million a year should sign Pujols.

This is ridiculous on a couple of levels.

First of all, as Dave Cameron pointed out today, and as Rob Neyer points out, the ARod contract didn't mean that the Rangers "lacked the wherewithal to do anything else."

The season after signing ARod, the Rangers signed Chan Ho Park, Juan Gonzalez, Jay Powell, and Todd Van Poppel to very sizeable deals, particularly relative to their value.  They had Rusty Greer on the books for millions, when he was not capa

The summer after signing ARod, the Rangers gave Mark Teixeira one of the biggest contracts ever handed out to a draft pick.

The Rangers' payroll for everyone on the team other than ARod, in 2001, 2002, and 2003, was higher than the Rangers' 2010 payroll, when they went to the World Series.

But more importantly, this blanket "25% rule" that is being imposed simply makes no sense.

If the Yankees have a $200 million payroll, and choose to spend $50 million per year on Albert Pujols, they still have $150 million to spend on every other player -- more than any other team's payroll.

If the Royals choose to have a $40 million payroll, is spending $9 million on one player defensible, while spending $11 million on one player asinine?

You can't just put down these blanket figures, and say, anything more than X% on a single player is going to cripple your team.  Every team is different, the makeup of each team is different, the amount of holes you can fill with minimum salary or team-controlled guys is different.  It doesn't make sense to paint these situations with such a broad brush...particularly when you are using the supposed failure of the early-aught Rangers to spend money on non-ARod players to support your theory.