New York Yankees: Albert Pujols in Pinstripes? Fuhgeda-Bout It!
The noon deadline came and passed without a deal.
For now, it seems as though Albert Pujols will become a free agent at the end of the 2011 season.
The St. Louis Cardinals exercised their $16 million option on Pujols earlier this offseason. He's entering the final season of the seven-year, $100 million contract he signed in 2004.
Pujols is widely considered the best player in baseball. He's played his entire 10-season career in St. Louis, where he has led the Cardinals to six postseason appearances, including a World Series win in 2006.
Pujols has averaged a slash line of .331./.426/.624 with 42 home runs, 128 RBI and 123 runs scored.
You could easily make the case that Pujols had the best first 10 seasons of any player in baseball history.
He is second only to the great Ted Williams in WAR over the first 10 seasons, 86.2 to 83.8, and he's posted a 58.7 WPA (Win Probability Added), the highest total of any player over his first 10 seasons since 1950 and more than five wins ahead of the player who ranks second, Mickey Mantle.
You don't have to go far into the numbers to see how amazing Pujols is, with reports that Pujols is seeking a 10-year, $300 million contract, or a higher average annual salary than Alex Rodriguez's 10-year, $275 million contract signed in 2007.
So when he hits free agency, the number of teams with the checkbooks to afford him are few. The New York Yankees, as always, are one of them, but don't go looking for your Pujols jersey in Yankee pinstripes just yet.
Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the Yankees have no interest in pursuing Pujols, citing a baseball official who, of course, remained anonymous.
The Yankees are happy with the production of their own All-Star first baseman, Mark Teixeira. Rodriguez is their third baseman and Jorge Posada is the DH.
Quite frankly, there is no room for Pujols.
Pujols has said he will veto any trade during the season and he will not discuss a contract during the season. For the Yankees to get Pujols, they'll have to wait until after the season.
2011 is most likely Jorge Posada's last season with the Yankees, so they will have an opening at DH.
Alex Rodriguez is 35 years old and operating with a surgically repaired hip. One of the best right-handed hitters in baseball, Rodriguez would certainly benefit from a move to a full-time DH role.
Combine that with the possibility of shortstop Derek Jeter being moved to the outfield and the Yankees have an opportunity to infuse youth to their aging infield and improve the left side defensively.
Should the Yankees pursue Albert Pujols?
Having Pujols clog up the DH spot would only hinder that process. Moving Teixeira to DH and playing the three-time Gold Glove winner Pujols at first base would do the same.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman said his goal is to add arms to the team, not bats. Unfortunately, Pujols doesn't pitch, although he'd probably be great at that too.
But even from a financial standpoint, adding Pujols would give the Yankees the two biggest contracts in baseball and the highest paid middle infielder in Jeter.
You could build an entire team with the $30 million Pujols wants.
With the Yankees in such desperate need for starting pitching, needing both a No. 4 and No. 5 starter and big questions surrounding A.J. Burnett, the Yankees don't need to go out and spend $300 million for another position player, even one of Pujols' caliber.
The Yankees have tremendous prospects in the minor leagues and have a real chance to infuse some youth into this team. The Yankees' number one prospect, catcher Jesus Montero, will compete for a spot on the team in Spring Training and then, of course, there are the "Killer B's" of Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman and Manny Banuelos.
There are better solutions—and quite frankly, more pressing needs—than signing Pujols for the Yankees. His talent is undeniable and his contributions over his career are historic, but would Pujols make the Yankees better?
If they had him this year, would their World Series odds really improve that much? Probably not, because they still wouldn't have any starting pitching.
So calm down, Yankees fans. Yes, they can afford Pujols, but they don't have the need or the room.
You'll just have to sustain yourselves on the Felix Hernandez trade rumors for now.
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