Albert Pujols Rumors: Indentifying The Top 10 Teams That Will Not Sign Him
Have you ever wondered what goes through your girlfriend's mind when she stops dead in her tracks, her eyes glaze over and she goes into a trance while looking at that ring in the window?
That's what this is for men. Players like this only become freely available once a generation, and we too have paused and slipped into an alternative universe where this shiny jewel could be ours.
Well, at the risk of being the bearer of bad news, the parallels don't stop there. There are only so many guys who can drop five grand just to make their girl smile, and only so many teams who can throw $300 million at a player.
In case you're just back from a sabbatical in the Himalayas, Albert Pujols has reportedly cut off negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals and plans to dip his toe into the murky waters of free agency.
While his legs dangle off the dock and you have visions of the fortunes of your team turning around by way of the hottest free agent signing in baseball history, I'll have to ask you to snap out of it.
For you, the fans of the forthcoming 10 teams, it's just not in the cards.
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Billy Beane is highly regarded as a guy who can get think outside the box.
Though, this isn't one of those guys you can sign and flip for prospects when the rest of the team is bad.
Aside from the massive investment into Pujols' pockets, he's sure to demand a no-trade clause. This eliminates the A's, even if they try to count on potential new park revenues to bring him on board.
A new San Jose stadium would do wonders for the A's, who have a rough time drawing fans in Oakland even when they're winning. It won't provide the type of cash or flexibility needed for this Athletics franchise, though.
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Not even Safeco Field could hold Alby down.
While Pujols' ability to hit to all fields would survive the Mariners home park just fine, there has to be a desire from both sides to even open talks.
Pujols would have to want to play in Seattle. If that hurdle was cleared, a team that generally is shy when it comes to superstar contracts would have to be willing to pony up the dough.
Sounds like a perfect storm for Chuck Armstrong to decide on making a paper football instead of answering Jack Zduriencik's email about possibilities.
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The Marlins move into a shiny new ballpark next season, and they could open it with a real bang.
But a team known for its tight finances and going with youth won't be joining the race.
Even with new stadium revenue streams, it would require a large payroll hike to add Pujols. It would also end up being one of the biggest percentages of payrolls one player occupied ever.
The very early indications, if you want to rely on hard-hat-wearing construction zone batting practice, is that the park could be hitter friendly. Marlins fans would love to see the moonshots and gap hits off Pujols' bat, but they probably realized quickly that they should be realistic.
I could write a book on why this would never happen.
Although, for a moment I recalled some of the bad contracts Houston has handed out and could see them actually making a push for this.
While they could probably find the money with only $47 million on the books for 2012, Pujols would have to want to play there.
The current front office has shown little ability to construct a team that can win. Hey, I'm just some schlub writing here, so I won't pretend to know how to solve their woes.
As sure as the sun sets, though, Albert's agent is privy to the same information as I am and would steer him clear of that debacle even if he had some strange desire to play there.
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The Indians are another team that relies heavily on player development and crafty trades.
While they don't have an impressive trophy case, they've had some good runs in recent history. There was a time when Jacobs Field was the envy of the league with all its sellouts and star-studded teams.
Those times are gone now, though.
As much as Cleveland's steady sports fan base may deserve it, they're not going to be a player for Pujols.
How do you replace Prince Fielder?
With Albert Pujols, of course!
Not so much, I'm afraid. While the Brewers stand to have a gaping hole at first base in 2012, and they'd have a chance to improve with Pujols, wouldn't they rather throw record cash at the guy already adored there?
The Brewers aren't a team that goes out of its way to sign marquee free agents, and while Pujols would be a wonderful fit there, it just isn't a reality.
Los Angeles Dodgers
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This is one that could change, but probably won't.
While the McCourt's battle in the court room and press, the Dodgers have become cash strapped. The only Pujols landing here could be discussed is if the team is sold sometime this season.
Unfortunately for Dodgers fans who would love to see it, it appears the biggest competition for the club this season will be over ownership shares, not gearing up for Pujols.
Tampa Bay Rays
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When you can't see the stars in your own galaxy, looking for those further in universe may prove futile.
The Rays couldn't afford to hang on to Carl Crawford or Matt Garza, parting with them via free agency and trade respectively.
It's not that those moves were bad. In fact, each made sense for a franchise stocked with green young talent, not greenbacks. While they brought in high-upside veterans in Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, they've now found the re-order page in their checkbook.
A fun team to root for, no doubt, and the thought of Pujols seeing how many balls he can land in the tank sounds nice. The reality, though, is that this team is now shifting gears towards youth with aging veterans mixed in for a reason.
Kansas City Royals
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There could actually be some appeal here.
Not only would moving to the other side of Missouri be a short jaunt, but Kansas City is where Pujols attended both high school and college.
The Royals have the near-universally-agreed best minor league system in baseball. They have some real talent on the way and a bunch of payroll flexibility.
The question, though, is how much flexibility?
While excitement could be found by the Royals only having $11.73 million in payroll on the books for 2012, giving them the most room to play of any interested team, you're still looking at a small market team that signing the largest check in the history of the game.
Even if they wanted to do this, how likely would Pujols be to join a youth movement in the prime of his career? He can get the same money from a team that is closer to adding jewelry to his collection and offering more marketing opportunities.
It was a nice thought, but I can't imagine it being anything more.
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Sometimes we forgot just how storied a franchise the Pirates are.
The names of Wagner, Clemente and even Bonds once played ball in the steel city. The fan base was rabid and, for some, football was an afterthought.
Decades later, the Pirates are going through one of the worst droughts in sports history.
While Red Sox and Cubs fans won't be lending an arm to cry on, those franchises at least provided hope to their fans during World Series dry spells. They had great players and made trips to the playoffs.
The Pirates have had their own special brand of misfortune. 18 consecutive losing seasons and suspect belly aching about the woes of being in a small market.
While possibly no team would gain more from a Pujols signing, no team stands less of a chance to land his services.