MLB Free Agents 2012: Prince Fielder Better for Texas Rangers Than Albert Pujols
There isn't a major league team on the planet that doesn't want a player with the abilities of an Albert Pujols or a Prince Fielder.
Rare are the occasions that two players at the same position that are as great as Fielder and Pujols become available at the same time.
However, when it comes to selecting which player is best for your team, it comes down to more than just the X's and O's of statistics.
Prince Fielder is a better fit for the Texas Rangers by far. Here's a look at why.
No. 10: Pujols Is Too Entrenched in St. Louis
Can you picture Albert Pujols playing baseball anywhere else than in St. Louis? I sure can't. Naturally, he famously hedged on the Cardinals' contract offer back last off season.
That doesn't mean that he's soured on St. Louis, though. Not by any means. To Cardinals fans, it's Stan Musial first, then Albert Pujols No. 2.
And the gap between the two is shrinking.
Pujols just won his second World Series title in St. Louis, he has (multiple) houses in the area, is involved in the community, etc. etc.
I really would be stunned if he ends up anywhere else besides "The Lou."
No. 9: Fielder Swing Is Made for the Ballpark in Arlington
Everyone knows that Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is a hitter's paradise. And left-handed hitters love playing there.
Just ask Josh Hamilton; he'll tell you the same.
If you listen closely while in Arlington on a cold winter night, you can hear the right field porch screaming for the abuse that Prince Fielder would unleash upon it.
Fielder could hit 50 home runs a year there.
Pujols could too. But as mentioned earlier, I just can't see him leaving St. Louis.
No. 8: Fielder Runs Better
With Ron Washington as the skipper, it's no secret that the Rangers like to run quite a bit. Anybody catch Pujols running recently?
He's slower than the arrival of Christmas Day to an eight-year-old.
It's hard to believe that a 275-pound man is quicker on his feet than Pujols—but it's absolutely true. Granted, you don't sign Pujols to swipe bags, but it sure is nice if you sign someone who can still run a little bit.
It's just another example of how Fielder's game is more conducive to the Rangers' style.
No. 7: Rangers Need a Left-Handed Power Bat
The Texas Rangers made it blatantly obvious during the World Series that they needed a solid right-handed bat to come in off the bench.
Sure, their lack of options in that regard cost them dearly in the World Series, but that's not really something that is going to make or break a season, though.
They could use another left-handed power bat in that lineup. As of right now, it's pretty much Josh Hamilton and David Murphy that provide the pop from the left side. Sure, Mitch Moreland does as well on occasion.
The Rangers lineup would be absolutely filthy with the lefty Prince Fielder in the middle of it.
No. 6: Fielder Is in His Prime
Don't get me wrong here: Albert Pujols in regression (if that's even the case) is better than about, well, everyone else in their prime.
That being said though, it just makes more sense to give a long-term deal to a player that's 27 (Fielder) than a player that's 31 (Pujols).
There's simply too many instances of a precipitous decline after the age of 30, not to mention 31 (he'll turn 32 in January).
No. 5: Fielder Is a Better Personality Fit
Prince Fielder is a guy that enjoys a good time. I'm sure we've all noticed his "Beast Mode," hilarious home run celebrations and "shadow boxing" scenes with his former teammate, Ryan Braun.
The Texas Rangers are downright famous for their pregame shenanigans, and one of the best things about their team is that they all seem to generally get along well with each other.
That sounds silly, but they possess a team chemistry that is surpassed by no other teams in the big leagues.
Albert Pujols isn't nicknamed "The Machine" just because he puts up cyborg-like numbers year in and year out...he also earned that moniker because he rarely shows emotion or excitement.
No thanks. I'd rather him sulk his way to excellence elsewhere. I'm sure the Rangers feel the same way as well.
No. 4: Albert Pujols Is Staying in the National League
Simply put, the National League has been very good to Pujols. Why would he want to switch leagues at this point in his career?
He plays a position (first base) that is well-suited for an aging ballplayer. And it's not like Pujols is a poor fielder—far from it. He's routinely one of the best defensive first basemen in the game.
So, no, he wouldn't want to make the switch the American League just to be a designated hitter on occasion.
If I was a gambling man, I'd put my money on Pujols staying in the National League.
No. 3: The Texas Rangers Like To Have Fun
Sure, this is basically a reiteration of the slide before last.
Imagine if Albert Pujols was on the Texas Rangers, and after his first home run as a Ranger, the team circles around him and attempts to rub his head a la Adrian Beltre-style.
Would Pujols allow that? Would he attempt to kill one, or every single person who dares to touch his head?
Would he humble himself enough to give an interview about this hypothetical event?
Anyhow, you get the idea.
No. 2: Pujols Will Cost Too Much
Prince Fielder will command a gigantic sum, too. I mean, Scott Boras is his agent after all. But Pujols will certainly command more.
He's going to look for (and most likely receive) about 10 years and $30 million per year.
I'm willing to bet (as long as it's not with my own meager sum of cash) that 10 years and $200 million would get Prince to sign on with the Texas Rangers right now.
Albert Pujols might even crack a smile while giggling at that figure.
No. 1: Prince Fielder Is Younger
Albert Pujols is a slam dunk, no doubt, shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. He's only 55 home runs away from 500, and the numbers that he put up last year are fantastic considering his age.
And that's just it.
The bottom line is even if you're getting a future HOFer, if one free agent is in his late 20s and the other is in his early 30s, you give the contract to the younger of the two.
In a 10-year deal, Pujols will undoubtedly be well worth the price of the contract for the first four to five years. It's in the final five that you're going to severely handicap a team's salary structure.