As Spring Training approaches, talk about Albert Pujols leaving St. Louis and testing free agency after the 2011 season has arisen.
Where should Albert go? How much will he be worth? Well, all that can be answered is he will be worth a lot. As to where he will go, that remains a mystery—that is, if he goes anywhere at all.
Would it be strange if he stays in St. Louis? Maybe. Stranger things have happened—like Cliff Lee signing for less money to go to Philly, for example.
One thing’s for certain: NL players, especially pitchers, are hoping he chooses to go either to the AL or to their team.
This talk about Pujols’ departure has come about because he is in the last year of his contract with the Cardinals and an extension agreement could not be made by Pujols’ deadline on Wednesday.
This leaves those “will he stay or will he go” questions up in the air and leaves players and fans wondering what the future holds for the 31-year-old first baseman.
So back to the questions. Where will Pujols end up with if he leaves the Cardinals?
Well, there are a number of teams who are in need of a first baseman, and there are probably 30 teams who just want this hard-hitting, three-time MVP first baseman.
You have to be crazy not to want, arguably, the best player of the era. This brings us to the big-market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, who are for sure going to be willing to pay top dollar for Pujols.
Because the Red Sox will most likely go all in for the first baseman, it is important for the Yankees to try to steal him off the market. I say this because the Red Sox will be a bit more desperate for Pujols.
They could move Kevin Youkilis to third with the departure of Adrian Beltre this offseason and have first open for Pujols—and of course, have David Ortiz DH like he normally does. No change there. It's that simple.
It's a little bit harder for the Yankees to fit Pujols in the mix. You have two great players at the corners already. They will always keep Alex Rodriguez, and you surely don't want to get rid of a glove in Mark Teixeira, do you?
Tex has become one of the best, if not THE best defensive first baseman in the league. His bat isn't quiet either.
So where would they fit Pujols? Would a position change for Pujols be out of the question? I don't think so. Albert has played 309 games in the outfield in his career with 269 of them in left.
Basically, the biggest reason the Yankees should get him is so the Red Sox don't get him—plain and simple. You may think that's a little childish, but this kind of stuff has been going on for years. Both ways too.
The Yankees picked up A-Rod so the Red Sox couldn't get him. If you remember clearly, A-Rod was a shortstop when the Yankees picked him up, and obviously the Yankees have a shortstop in Derek Jeter, so they converted A-Rod into a third baseman—and a damn good one at that.
The Red Sox picked up Japanese pitching phenom Daisuke Matsuzaka so the Yankees wouldn't. If I can remember correctly, they spent $50 million just to go to Japan and talk to him. But in their defense, you can never have too much pitching.
Basically, a lot of these players are being picked up not only because they're needed but for defensive purposes in the roster also. GMs can play defense too.
I think the Yankees and Yankee fans alike would be happy to see Pujols go to anyone but the Red Sox, and the other way around.
One thing is for certain: Whoever gets him is going to have a great player in their lineup.