Trading Albert Pujols: Part II

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Trading Albert Pujols: Part II
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

So you know the theory to the idea.

Now, it is time for an actual deal.

First off, we have to create a list of teams that can afford Albert Pujols financially.

Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Detroit Tigers.

Teams that have the players to make a deal out of these teams (I have eliminated any teams that would "rent" Pujols based on the fact that even for Pujols, no team would devour their farm system for Pujols only to lose him right away):

Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, Mariners, Mets, Phillies, Giants.

That doesn't leave a lot of teams, but let's take a look.

 

Front Runners

The Red Sox have a very deep farm system with a talented Major League roster. The Red Sox could easily package Casey Kelly, Jonathon Papelbon/Daniel Bard, Lars Anderson, Michael Bowden, Clay Buchholz, Jose Iglesias, Junichi Tazawa, and Ryan Westmoreland together to make a deal.

The Red Sox have the cash to make Pujols the contract he desires, and while this trade would ruin their depth, it would improve their team without really hurting their immediate Major League roster.

The Angels are in the same boat. Mike Trout, Trevor Reckling, Fabio Martinez, Jordan Walden, Ryan Chaffee, Tyler Skaggs, and Garrett Richards would get a deal done.

The Angels too have the money to sign Pujols long-term and not hurt their current Major League roster by making this deal. Their depth would also take a huge hit.

The Mets are in a different boat. What kind of boat? The Red Sox and Angels are riding on the Titanic, and the Mets are in a dinghy. And yes, the Titanic reference is good. Trading this much depth would make an iceberg ahead.

The Mets would have to center any deal for Pujols around Ike Davis, Jenrry Mejia, Wilmer Flores, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey, Fernando Martinez, Josh Thole, and Juan Urbina.

The Mets would greatly hurt their Major League pitching staff, but add the bat they need in the middle of their order. The Mets too would have the money to lock Pujols up.

 

Middle Ground

The White Sox are the team that is in the direct middle. They could easily come up with the money to sign Pujols long-term and have the prospects to make the deal work, but do they have the space?

The team plays musical chairs at DH and 1B anymore. Would they want to add another player to that mix, even one as good as Pujols?

The prospects involved would be: Tyler Flowers, Gordon Beckham, Jared Mitchell, Dan Hudson, Jordan Danks, Dayan Viciedo, and Nathan Jones.

 

Background

The Phillies are an interesting team in this discussion. Their depth has taken a hit, so they would have to deal from current players (J.A. Happ, Ryan Madson) and prospects (Dominic Brown) to get any deal done.

The reason, though, that the Phillies sit on the back of the bus is their lack of talent depth, but their lack of space.

Ryan Howard can't play any other position on the diamond (just DH). Chase Utley can't play the corner outfield with his weak arm and bad hips.

Placido Polanco would be a big gamble in RF, same goes for Pujols (who would also be a gamble at 3B with his elbow issues).

The Mariners are another interesting team. Their depth is there, but the talent depth really isn't.

They have the cash to pull off a trade, but not a lot of talent (outside of Dustin Ackley) to offer.

The Giants are the most interesting team in this entire equation. Buster Posey, Jonathon Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner, and Zach Wheeler headlining a package would make anyone listen.

They also have the money and a clear need (Sandoval at 3B with Pujols at 1B would be a sick defensive alignment and 3-4 in the order) for Pujols.

Would Sabean act, though, is the major question. His lack of desire to make moves and reluctance to pay wanted prices pushes the Giants to the back, but would be dark horses if Pujols was put up on the trade block.

 

Rent-A-Team

There is only one team would could feasibly fit Pujols into their 2011 budget, but not beyond. That team is the Tampa Bay Rays .

Think about this. The Rays make the trade for Pujols this winter. Even with some of their core players likely leaving, they would still be the team to beat.

And with their good track record of drafting and developing players, the two draft picks brought back from Pujols signing elsewhere (no one will rate higher than him on the Elias rankings) could be worth the lose of top prospects.

Many would say that any trade from Tampa Bay should be headlined by Evan Longoria. I'm not that naive. No way the Rays would deal Longoria, especially for a rent-a-player (even if it is Pujols).

No, their deal would be: Desmond Jennings, Jeremy Hellickson, Tim Beckham, Matt Sweeney, Matt Moore, Alex Torres.

Now do you see why this would be a long-shot? Pujols would effectively replace Pena for the season, but Jennings is supposed to replace Crawford.

Hellickson would replace a starter who would shift to the bullpen (my money on Davis or Garza) to close games and anchor the bullpen*.

The Rays can't do make this trade because it would greatly affect their moving on, but they could still surprise all involved by making the deal.

* = Way too many starters for five spots, and they need a closer under club control. Why not move a starter back there, a la Papelbon, and call-up Hellickson? Makes more sense than overspending on a closer or bringing Soriano back.

 

Got the Cash

The Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, and Tigers have the money to sign Pujols.

None would land him in a trade.

The simple reason is that none of the clubs have the farm system to pull off a trade, or don't have the young, cost controlled players needed to make a deal.

The Cubs would also fit in this category because John Mozeliak knows that if he traded Pujols, he would be lynched.

If he traded him to the Cubs, his body would be burned after the lynching.

Just remember that this is all theoretical. There are no discussions going on about trading Pujols.

This is just something that should be thought about with Pujols' contract coming to an end and negotiations on the horizon.

And just to make a few things clear:

*I am a die-hard Cardinals fan. Remember: this is THEORETICAL!

*If Pujols makes it known that he wants to test the free agent market before re-signing with the Cardinals, I would not blame Mozeliak one bit for trading Pujols.

Anything can happen in today's world.

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