Albert Pujols Free Agency: The 7 Likeliest Scenarios for the Machine
Albert Pujols is one of the most feared batters in Major League Baseball and one of the most, if not the most, complete players in MLB. So far in a "down" season, the Machine has 31 homers and 77 RBI and is batting .289. This proves just how good this guy is; every single team would take a similar year from its first baseman, and Albert can do even better (when healthy). That's why this guy is going to get paid this offseason; his consistency and talent are off the charts.
All season people have wondered where King Albert will land, and rightfully so. There are teams like the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals who could really use a first baseman, but do they have the money to bring in Albert? Read on to see the seven likeliest teams Albert Pujols could join after this year.
Now before everyone counts this off as crazy and unlikely, hear me out. The Washington Nationals are one of the most promising teams in baseball, and the addition of Pujols could give them a dynamic offense.
The Nats could send out Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Danny Espinosa, Albert Pujols and possibly Bryce Harper; tell me opposing pitchers wouldn't think about this five-some of batters. The weak link is Espinosa, and he has 18 homers so far this season.
There could be one problem, and it is a big problem: Will Washington pay Pujols the money he's going to want? One would think the addition of Pujols would be a worthwhile investment, and he would definitely bring more free agents over to the Nats.
The Chicago Cubs have long been thought to be a possible destination for Albert, and they certainly could use a player of his caliber. The Cubs have been one of the worst teams in the National League for a couple seasons, and that's not acceptable in Chi-Town.
The fans expect winners, and Pujols would certainly bring a winning attitude to the club. Plus the Cubs would bolster their team and weaken their division rival St. Louis Cardinals, which is a win-win for the Cubs.
The Texas Rangers lost in the World Series last year, and they struggled offensively against the dominant pitching staff of the San Francisco Giants. The Rangers only scored 12 runs during the five games, and they really could have used Albert in the middle of that lineup.
It would have been much harder for the Giants to go through Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Albert Pujols. The Rangers are a good ballclub, and it wouldn't surprise me if Nolan Ryan made a serious run at Pujols.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants won the World Series last year, relying heavily on their pitching staff. This season, many expected the team to have a decent offense and an amazing pitching staff, but the offense has been nonexistent all year, and the Giants aren't even in first place in the NL West.
Aubrey Huff is not the future at first base, and the addition of Pujols would dramatically improve the offense. Once the team got healthy, it would be a force to be reckoned with. The Giants would once again become a playoff contender year in and year out.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have been one of the better teams in baseball for a couple years now, and they have never had a shortage of offense. They have, however, had the misfortune of playing in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox and always have to battle the two powerhouses for a playoff spot.
They already have some very good players in Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings, and they could benefit greatly from the addition of Pujols. Albert would go to a team that would be in contention for the playoffs for years to come, and he could lead the team to a World Series title.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a promising core of young players, and they could benefit from the addition of a player as good as Pujols. They could send out Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Albert Pujols in the middle of their lineup, which could easily go against the best three hitters of almost any other team in baseball.
The Dodgers have the market and fanfare to bring in someone of Albert's stature, but how would they pay him, considering the team is going through bankruptcy right now? If there was any way they could sign Albert, they should do it immediately.
St. Louis Cardinals
Re-signing in Saint Louis has to be the most likely option for Pujols, and it's really the most sensible option too. Pujols has been a Cardinal his whole career, and it's not like the team has been awful; he's played on a contender for a long time now. He is absolutely beloved by the fans and is extremely comfortable in his current situation.
The Cardinals will be contenders for as long as Pujols is on the team, and he could be one of the rare superstars that stay on the same team for the entire length of their careers. He could be, maybe, the last superstar to give complete loyalty to one team, and his legacy would be improved because of that. Plus, it would just be weird to see Albert in anything other than St. Louis Cardinal red.