St. Louis Cardinals: Top 5 Teams to Just Say NO to Albert Pujols
Before the first spring training pitch of 2011 has been thrown, the St. Louis Cardinals will have a strong glance into their future for 2012 and beyond.
The Cardinals star slugging first baseman will reach his deadline on signing a contract extension within the next couple of days. If the franchise fails to reach Albert's demands, then it seems to be almost certain that Pujols will no longer be wearing the St. Louis Cardinals red and white.
As of today, Monday, February 14th, several media outlets, including Buster Olney, are reporting that the Cardinals and Pujols are not close to a deal.
The Cardinals made an offer just the other day, and the Pujols camp shot it down immediately.
If the word on the street is accurate, then it is going to take more than the Alex Rodriguez contract of 10 years, $275 million. Apparently, Albert Pujols is looking to be compensated at 10 years, for roughly $300 million.
When that sort of money is being thrown around, most people tend to think it is outrageous, and there is no way someone is going to pay a player, especially a 31 year old first baseman, 10 years worth of $30 million installments.
Does Albert Pujols deserve this money?
Well I can tell you that Pujols has not even cracked the top 10 salary mark of all MLB players during his career. While during the span of the past 5-7 years, many would argue that he has been the best player in baseball, so there might be some logic that says that Pujols has earned this payday.Then there are others that will say that no athlete deserves to make that sort of money for playing a sport.
Whether you think Pujols deserves this money or not, someone is likely going to give Albert Pujols $300 million. The market for a MLB player of Albert Pujols stature has been set, and the fair market value (based on what other players have been paid) is the $300 million that Pujols is demanding.
Any time you start talking about a salary like that, several franchises come to your mind that can afford that, and several franchises become instantly eliminated from the mix.
This list is intended to come up with the Top 5 Franchises that Will NOT sign Albert Pujols.
Obviously, this list is not going to include the likes of the Pirates, Marlins or Rays. This list is intended to eliminate 5 teams that can afford Pujols, but will not pay him.
5. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies seem to be shelling out money to big name free agents every off-season for the last two or three years. So any time a big name, big money superstar becomes available, you have to at least mention the name of the newest Larger Market (or more like Larger Market as it refers to spending habits) Franchise.
The first reason the Phillies won't be spending the $300 million dollars necessary to acquire Pujols? They are paying the four horsemen of their pitching stable an insane amount of money as it is.
But even larger than reason No. 1, is reason No. 6—and we are literally talking about the player wearing No 6.
That is the one and only first baseman for the Phillies in Ryan Howard.
Howard signed a $125 million contract extension in 2010 that will have the Phillie first baseman staying in Philadelphia through 2016.
So even though this one is obvious, you might as well eliminate Philly from the mix.
4. New York Mets
Anytime you get into astronomical figures like $300 million, then you instantly have to look at the market.
The market of New York has always commanded big money, and big money free agents to satisfy the loyal fan-base, and the non-stop, critical New York media.
The New York Mets are not going to sign Albert Pujols.
After the Omar Minaya debacle, this franchise has to realize that they are not a serious contender right now, and that spending tons of money on another superstar on the back nine of his career is just not a good move.
That move can be sold to the fans and media, by the production put out by their young, future star first baseman Ike Davis during his rookie campaign. Ike Davis flashed pop, production, and poise in his first year in the Big Apple. Many New York fans were critical of his call up so quickly after being graduated from Arizona State, but Davis put many of those critics to rest with his performance.
Davis, just two years after being drafted in the first round by New York in 2008, ended up posting 19 HRs, a .264 average, and a .351 OBP in the 147 games he appeared in.
For a 23 year old kid, with such a small amount of minor league seasoning, in that big of a pitcher's park, those are extremely impressive numbers that this franchise can rest comfortably knowing.
This is the first baseman of the future for the Mets.
3. Los Angeles Angels
Many people will be shocked with my No. 3 selection to not go after Albert Pujols in the LA Angels.
This team seems to be a good fit. They are a large market franchise, and they could use the power stick.
So why not go after Albert Pujols?
I will give you a couple good reasons why they will not do it.
1. Owner Arte Moreno. Arte likes to keep his money as close to the vest as possible. Any time he spends some money, he always does it on a guy that is nearing the end of his prime. Sooner or later, with the age of the Angels outfield (Abreu, Hunter and recently added Vernon Wells), this team is going to have to go with the youth movement. This youth movement will come in the package of the No. 1 rated prospect in baseball (according to MLB.com) Mike Trout.
2. Kendry Morales. Many people forget how good Kendry Morales actually is. Last year Morales got hurt and missed over three-fourths of the season. But prior to last year, Morales has a breakout year by posting over a .300 avg (.306) and 34 HR's. With Morales only 27 years old, there is just no need to add Pujols
3. Pujols may not like the market of LA. Albert Pujols has always shown that he does not like the media. This is in a town of one major newspaper. Add the glitz, glamour and media attention of LA, and this is just not a match made in heaven for Albert Pujols
2. Boston Red Sox
I know that a big name like Albert Pujols will put Red Sox Nation into a frenzy.
But after the signing of Adrian Gonzalez, this franchise—that loves to spend big money on free agents and big names—will not be contenders for Pujols.
The Red Sox have shown that they are willing to spend to, "Keep up with Jones'." But the pockets of the Red Sox have got to be getting thin after spending big on the top two free agents of this off-season, in Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Add in that Gonzalez is younger than Pujols, a good defensive first baseman, and was just signed by the Red Sox, then it's safe to say that the Red Sox can be eliminated.
About the only thing that would enter the Red Sox into contention for Albert Pujols would be if the Evil Empire was interested.
But no need to worry Red Sox Nation.
The Sox will not be entering the Pujols sweepstakes, for reasons you'll see in a second...
1. New York Yankees
Calm down Yankee fans.
I know that you pay whatever you want, to whoever you want, whenever you want, but heck, this off-season, even when the GM Brian Cashman didn't want to sign a player (Rafael Soriano), the Steinbrenner's stepped in and signed them without the consent of their own GM.
Not only does this show the lengths the Yankees will go to sign the best players available, it shows the Yankees will sign a player at a position they don't really need just to appease their fan base.
With that being said, Albert Pujols just does not fit with New York Yankees.
Pujols, as mentioned before, has always shown his dislike for the media. If you put Pujols in the media hungry big apple, with the big cheese of the city (sorry Mets fans), then Randy Johnson's feud in the Bronx may look like small potatoes.
Add in to the mix that the Yankees have a younger, cheaper, and better defensive option at first base in the name of Mark Teixeira, then you just don't have a fit for the Yankees.
I know the Yankees spend big. I know that if the Yankees don't match up to rival Boston this season, the Steinbrenner's may offer Pujols a stake in the franchise, but in the end, not even the Yankees can lure in Albert Pujols without offering him the defensive position first baseman. They aren't taking Teixeira and his gold glove off of first baseman. And Pujols is NOT going to DH.
The Pujols Factor
At the end of the day, I think it is safe to say that most MLB franchises cannot compete for the likes of Albert Pujols, and the money he commands.
For some teams, Pujols would make-up more salary than the entire roster. Obviously, those sort of markets couldn't take on a Pujols-like salary. But then when you add in the state of the position that Albert Pujols plays, then I think it's safe to say that the five franchises that I mentioned, though capable, are going to be eliminated.
One thing is for sure, Scott Boras is the biggest fan of the St. Louis Cardinals right now.
If the Cards can pull the trigger on Pujols within the next two days, then Pujols will set the standard for other free agents for the next off-season. In particular, the free agent that Boras wants to set the market price for is Boras client, and fellow first baseman, Prince Fielder.
Fielder is set to make the big bucks himself next season, but Fielder will probably not come off the board until Pujols has found his home. The only thing that is for sure now is that the Cardinals are on the clock, and if they don't ink the star of their franchise, then the hot stove will be burning all season.