Except, of course, the Cardinals.
It was Pujols’ hefty asking price (somewhere in the area of $200 million over 10 years) that (until recently) shrunk his suitor list to a select few. However, that was when Pujols still reigned supreme in every baseball person's mind. It’s when he hadn’t showed any signs of rust on his machine-like 10-year résumé. It was when, well, he was still Albert Pujols.
Yet every week that passes where Albert hovers under .300, where he doesn’t lead the league in jacks, where he doesn’t cause pitchers to stain their knicker-legs (ya know, stuff he’s been doing since 2001) pushes the door open ever so slightly for more interested teams to peek in.
See, despite his age (31), Albert Pujols is still the baddest hitter there is (you can take that Jose Bautista nonsense and stuff it back where it came from).
Yet inexplicably, in this, the one year he needs to prove his talent to be age-defying, his aura has faded, and his prowess has been questioned. As of this writing, Pujols’ slash line reads .278/.353/.473, and all he leads the league in is fantasy owner suicides.
Personally, I fully expect Pujols’ numbers to be fantastic when September ends. He’s just too good. However, if his dalliance with mediocrity continues for long, his historically large asking price is sure to come down. Should that occur, there will undoubtedly be teams salivating over the prospect of buying low.
Here are five dark horse teams whose eyebrows could rise if Pujols becomes more affordable...