Albert Pujols is the greatest hitter of his generation.
With three MVPs (and four more second-place finishes), two World Series titles and unprecedented statistics, Pujols is truly in a class of his own.
Thus far, only the Cardinals and Marlins have officially made offers to Pujols. But unexpected things can happen—a bid for Pujols makes sense for a number of teams.
Here are five surprise teams that could land the mighty slugger.
The San Francisco Giants could use some offense.
The Giants finished 28th in hitting last year, effectively wasting another brilliant year from their untouchable pitching staff.
The Giants owe first baseman Aubrey Huff $10 million in 2012, but the Giants should be willing to make room for a hitter of Pujols' stature, especially since Huff is familiar with playing third base.
Given the strength of their pitching, the Giants are close to being a playoff team. Albert Pujols would immediately boost their offense more than any other player could.
If the Giants are willing to spend big on Pujols, they could be a formidable club.
In terms of offense, the Angels performed in the middle of the pack last year. Not a single player hit over .300 or had 30 home runs.
With Dan Haren and Jared Weaver holding down an excellent pitching staff, the Angels would benefit from a superstar slugger.
The Angels already have nearly $100 million on the books for 2012, but they have not been afraid to spend big in the past.
With their team already on the cusp of contention, a bid for Pujols makes sense for the Angels.
The Texas Rangers are already an offensive powerhouse.
Their offense-first strategy has worked out well—the Rangers have won back-to-back American League pennants.
Albert Pujols has the potential to take the already impressive Texas offense to a new level. With Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler, the Rangers could sport one of the most dangerous offenses in recent memory.
With the likely departure of C.J. Wilson, the Rangers will be looking for ways to keep their team at the top of the American League.
The Jayson Werth deal has shown that the Nationals are willing to spend big. That was a massive deal, and one that the Nationals regret, but they still have financial flexibility.
As it stands, the Nationals will likely enter 2012 with a salary of less than $75 million.
The Nationals could use some more pop in their lineup, as they finished 27th in hitting last year. Pujols, Ryan Zimmerman and a potentially resurgent Jayson Werth could be the core of a potent offense.
The arrival of Bryce Harper and the return of Stephen Strasburg will make the Nationals a much better team, but it may not be enough to rank them among the game's top teams.
The addition of Albert Pujols would complete the Nationals' transition from bottom-feeder to perennial contender.
The Cubs are deep in rebuilding mode; there are major holes in pitching, offense and defense.
Some doubt that the Cubs will go after a player like Pujols—it would be foolish to waste two or three years of prime production for a team that will be hopelessly out of contention.
Everything depends on the scope of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer's rebuilding plan.
If Epstein and Hoyer think they can turn the Cubs around after only one season of rebuilding, then signing Pujols makes sense. No player can match his resume, but Pujols is already 31.
Still, the Cubs need power badly, and Pujols probably has a few years of MVP-like production left.
Reports have recently surfaced about the Cubs' interest in the slugger—the Winter Meetings could be full of surprises this year.