MLB Free Agency 2012: What Are the Real Chances the Yankees Get Albert Pujols?
On this website, we've had a lot of time to talk about free agency stories and what the Yankees should do for the 2012 season.
We've talked a lot about pitching and a little about hitting, but not much.
And I'm also a little surprised I haven't seen one Albert Pujols story yet on this page. Maybe it's me, but I thought I would see more from others.
So I guess I will have to be the one guy who discusses Pujols on here. I mean, why not? Not like the Yankees got a lot going on today, except for some vacation plans and rounds of golf in Florida.
The best player in the game will be a free agent once the World Series is over. Whether the St. Louis Cardinals win or lose, Pujols will be a free agent.
The Cardinals get five days of exclusive rights to negotiate with him, and depending on how they do against Texas in the World Series, St. Louis will need every bit of advantage they can.
Because once Pujols hits the open market, it's anyone's game for him.
Now, for the last month, every time any of you went to a story, you saw side stories from other places, and one of them on here was done by Jeffrey Beckmann wondering what kind of odds every team had to land Pujols.
That story alone has drawn over 143,000 reads, so kudos to Beckmann on a story well done.
In it, he gave the Yankees the fourth best chance with seven percent odds to land Pujols.
Is that too high? Too low? Not enough? Honestly, I'm not sure.
Now, back on Jan. 4, 2010, before a lot of you were even knew this website even existed, I wrote a story addressing the rumors of Pujols to the Yankees in 2012.
At the time, I said it would be highly unlikely that the Yankees would get Pujols, and that was after the Yankees had just won the 2009 World Series.
Almost two years later, here were are, with Pujols about to be a free agent.
But in this story, we're going to see if it makes sense for the Yankees to even think about pursuing Pujols.
Lets get started.
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1. He's the best player in the game who is about to hit free agency.
2. 11 straight years of at least 30 home run seasons.
3. 10 straight years of over 100 RBI (99 in 2011.)
4. Two-time Gold Glove first basemen
5. Even with Mark Teixeira in the lineup, you could alternate putting Pujols and Teixeira at first and DH, and both could get equal rest.
6. A lineup of Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira is good enough. Adding Pujols to that almost wouldn't be fair.
7. A career .339 postseason hitter with 15 home runs.
9. Pujols alone would sell more tickets at Yankee Stadium.
10. Before the age of 32, he has 445 career home runs. He has a chance to hit 500,600 and 700-plus home runs in his career.
11. Nobody would outbid the Yankees if it came down to money
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1. He'll be 32 in January. How much longer can he keep up the pace of hitting 40/120 each year?
2. If he really wanted to demand it, Pujols could cost at least $35-40 million per season.
3. Does he even really want to DH?
4. Do you want a lineup of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Albert Pujols, all over 30 and making over $20 million per season?
5. He only knows one place as home in his career.
6. Yankee fans all over would have to listen to the haters complain that the "rich just got richer" if they signed Pujols.
7. How would he handle playing in New York? St. Louis has nowhere near the pressure New York has of playing and producing a winner.
8. How would Mark Teixeira handle the Yankees bringing in a guy who plays the same position as him?
Teams Interested in Pujols
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Not every team is going to be able to afford the services of Pujols. Mostly, you're looking at the teams with the highest payrolls here.
Now of course, there is his team of right now, the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Chicago Cubs are definitely interested and could pose as the biggest challenge.
The Milwaukee Brewers could definitely try for him considering Prince Fielder is a free agent, too.
The New York Mets have the money, but do their owners and GM want to spend it on one player?
The Los Angeles Dodgers also have the money, but their owner is in the middle of a financial mess.
The Los Angeles Angels are always a factor, and saved money from losing out on Carl Crawford last winter.
The Texas Rangers could be a big dark-horse in this race because we know they have the money, and putting Pujols in that lineup and ballpark would only benefit them.
The San Francisco Giants absolutely make sense because they have no offense whatsoever and do have the money to spend.
And then there are the Yankees, who always have the resources and money to offer any player whatever it is they want.
The 2011 World Series
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I think the 2011 World Series will play a major factor into Pujols' decision.
Pujols wants to play for the Cardinals, and if they can build a winner around him, he'll likely be enticed to stay.
If the Cardinals didn't make the playoffs this year, I think there was a really good chance Pujols was gone and done with St. Louis.
But the fact that the Cardinals got into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, beat the National League favorite Philadelphia Phillies in the first round, knocked off the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS and have a chance to win the World Series is crucial.
The Cardinals have to be banking on the fact that they win a second championship with Pujols and make him feel like they have constructed enough of a winner to make their franchise player stay for another seven years.
If the Rangers win, it could change a lot of things regarding Pujols' decision.
But if the Cardinals run the table and win the whole thing, it only benefits St. Louis in the end.
Before You Say It's Impossible to Happen....
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Now, before we all start with the "there's no chance in hell Pujols comes to New York" stuff, lets go back about eight years ago.
The Yankees had a third basemen named Aaron Boone, who just became a Bronx hero by hitting the game winning home run in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Red Sox and got them to the World Series.
That January, Boone played a pickup basketball game and ended up breaking his leg, which ended his 2004 season and voided his contract with the Yankees.
This lead to the Yankees making a trade in February of 2004 for a guy nobody thought they would ever get.
Just a few days before, Alex Rodriguez was named the captain of the Texas Rangers after a trade to Boston failed.
Shortly after, he was then traded to the Yankees for second basemen Alfonso Soriano.
A-Rod, normally a shortstop, made the move to third base because the shortstop was already Jeter's.
Since 2004, A-Rod has been a fixture in the Bronx, winning two A.L. MVP awards and helped the Yankees win the 2009 World Series.
So before you go and say, "Pujols will never be a Yankee," there's one thing you can always say in baseball.
Never say never, because crazier things, like the A-Rod thing, can happen.
What Are the Real Odds of the Yankees Land Albert Pujols?
If you were to ask me right now, will the Yankees land Albert Pujols this winter in free agency, my initial gut reaction says no.
With Alex Rodriguez locked up for another six years and Mark Teixeira for another five, it's a lot of money to invest in a guy who will be 32 come January.
In the story I quoted earlier, the author gave the Yankees about a seven percent chance.
In the regular odds, I give the Yankees about a 20-80 chance right now to land Pujols, mostly because they do already have Mark Teixeira in the lineup and may need to keep their DH spot open for A-Rod in the future.
So for those who were banking on a little hope that the Yankees would go all out for Pujols, the best way to see Pujols on the Yankees might be in MLB 12: The Show on Playstation 3.
Because in reality, I honestly think he ends up re-signing with St. Louis for the rest of his career.
If the Cardinals lost Pujols, that franchise would be crushed, and their fans would be utterly devastated; maybe more than the Cleveland fans were when LeBron James bolted to the Miami Heat.
In the end, I think Pujols stays in St. Louis.