MLB Winter Meetings: Could the Yankees Be the Mystery Team Courting Pujols?

Alex WilsonContributor IDecember 8, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 30: First baseman Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals waves to the crowd during the World Series victory parade for the franchise's 11th championship on October 30, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images)
Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images

Consider this for a minute.

Multiple sources have indicated that a third mystery team is involved in the Albert Pujols sweepstakes, in addition to the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

ESPN's Jayson Stark wrote the following:

"The identity of the reported third team remained unknown. But people within the sport suggested it was likely to be a club that has an established, big-name first baseman it would need to trade before it could complete a deal with Pujols."

There are a short list of teams who fit this description. 

One is the Boston Red Sox, who locked up Adrian Gonzalez to a seven-year, $154 million extension in April. Unlikely.

Another is the Philadelphia Phillies. Ryan Howard has a long-term deal and he may be the face of the franchise. Not happening.

Then you have the Detroit Tigers. Miguel Cabrera isn't going anywhere. The Cincinnati Reds? Votto's their cornerstone. The Chicago White Sox? They're apparently in rebuilding mode.

That leaves the New York Yankees.

Why wouldn't the most storied franchise in sports history not go after one of the greatest players of this generation? 

Here's what could happen:

The Yankees agree in principle with Pujols, but need to ship Mark Teixeira off first, who has regressed a bit offensively in recent seasons. He has a full no-trade clause, and he said last February that he wouldn't waive it under any circumstances. But it's always possible things could change. 

The Seattle Mariners are a potential fit. We know they're interested in Prince Fielder—another marque first-baseman—so we know they wouldn't have a problem taking on Teixeira's $180 million deal considering that's in the vicinity of what Fielder will most likely command.

Teixeira, and maybe even pitching prospect Manny Banuelos, for Felix Hernandez. If not Felix, Pineda would be a great pickup, too. 

Perhaps the San Francisco Giants could be another fit, if they're willing to take on Tex's contract. We know they're desperate for offense. 

Teixeira for Madison Bumgarner and prospects. Matt Cain is another possibility. 

The Chicago Cubs could be another suitor, as well as the Miami Marlins.

The Yankees will not only be acquiring Pujols, but they'll be getting the talented starting pitcher that they covet by dealing Tex.

Just remember, this is the New York Yankees. This franchise will do anything it takes to win, and after two consecutive seasons without a championship, why not shake things up and bring in one of the greatest players in history?