Immediate shock waves rippled through Philadelphia and Saint Louis on Sunday when Buster Olney of ESPN.com wrote that the Phillies have "kicked around" the notion of trading slugger Ryan Howard for regular MVP contender Albert Pujols.
"No way would (insert either team) do that!" cry emotionally attached fans in their respective home towns. However, such a deal would make sense for both teams.
Both Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard will be free agents after the 2011 season. Ryan Howard has not garnered much attention over signing beyond that, with the impending free agent all-star Jayson Werth in Philadelphia. However, in Saint Louis, concern about Albert Pujols' future with the Cardinals regularly comes up.
For the Cardinals, this trade would make a lot of sense if they feel that they do not have a legitimate chance to sign Pujols for the long haul.
Ryan Howard was born and raised in Saint Louis. Ryan Howard has done nothing but put up impressive numbers as a visitor to Busch Stadium. In 2009, in just two games, Howard hit .500 with a home run and 5 RBI at Busch. He will not be the hardest sell to the citizens of the town Scott Rolen once dubbed "Baseball Heaven."
So, if signing Pujols to an extension is not a possibility, why not try out a hometown hero and hope that he will love playing at home and wish to sign?
The offensive drop-off will be near negligible, the fans have someone to root for and enjoy, and General Manager John Mozeliak can cross his fingers that Howard will sign.
In Philadelphia, the Phillies face losing Jayson Werth, their top right-handed power source in their lineup after this season, to free agency. One will note that the Phillies are well-stocked with outfield talent with near-ready Domonic Brown, Tyson Gillies, and Quintin Berry.
However, all three of the aforementioned outfielders are left-handed. With Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez already in the fold as left-handed batters in the fold, the Phillies cannot afford to let Werth go without another right-handed bat.
Though such a bold move is unlikely, the Phillies and General Manager Ruben Amaro have showed a willingness to think outside the box when they traded Cliff Lee and replaced him with Roy Halladay. Amaro denied such a notion with foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal suggested it.
Amaro denies this latest rumor, but how real is this denial?