Where Else Could He Go?
According to Bodog’s oddsmakers, these are the teams that could possibly land Pujols:
The Chicago Cubs – 7-4 (the Cards are second at 2-1) – Incoming team president Theo Epstein (as soon as Bud Selig gets the trade worked out) is leaving a situation in which he was blamed for Carl Crawford’s terrible contract. Sure, that wasn’t completely his fault and it’s certainly not his concern anymore, but he’s also walking into a situation where the cupboard is half empty and there sits a giant jar of Alfonso Soriano as a reminder that spending in bulk can often be wasteful.
The Cubs would indeed be the most likely to strike and spend what it takes to shove a horrific dagger into their rivals’ hearts, but after 103 years (and 2 World Series titles for the Cardinals in 6 years) this can’t be about a rivalry anymore. This has to be about winning for the Cubs. If they spend $30 million on Pujols without answering the questions in their rotation, they will be no closer to breaking the curse than they were this year.
The Washington Nationals – 7-1 – Apparently the Nationals want to keep spending and attack the NL East with fervor this year. I’m a little scared after seeing how much they paid Jayson Werth despite never having hit 100 RBI in a season.
The New York Yankees – 12-1 – I read a great rumor the other day that the Yankees – hot off of extending C.C. Sabathia’s contract through 2017 – would sign Pujols to play in a rotation at 1B, 3B and DH with Texeira and A-Rod. Sure. Whatever helps people sleep. The Yankees are focused on C.J. Wilson for their rotation, which is the reason they didn’t make it to the World Series or even the ALCS.
The Boston Red Sox – 12-1 – Again, that Crawford contract looms large, and like the Cardinals the Sox don’t have a manager yet. They have more pressing needs, as they’ll probably be looking to spend on pitching instead of trying to talk a guy who doesn’t want to be a DH into being a DH. Just because a team spends the most, it doesn’t mean it’s willing to take on the biggest contract. Especially when it doesn’t need it.
The Texas Rangers – 15-1 – Nolan Ryan and Co. don’t have the biggest checkbook in baseball like Hicks did, but they do have to worry about pitching (wrapping up C.J. Wilson would be the first step) and Josh Hamilton’s looming free agency. Pujols isn’t out of the question for the Rangers, but like most teams they have more pressing needs.
Additional teams that have me a little concerned:
The Philadelphia Phillies – On the last at-bat of Game 5 of the NLDS, Ryan Howard collapsed from a torn Achilles as Phillies fans watched the Cardinals celebrate their victory. Howard is out until at least May, and it has long been rumored that the Phillies signed Howard to that $25 million/year deal to make it look like a discount to the Cardinals when it came time to sign Pujols. Therefore, it was believed that Philly might attempt a sign-and-trade with the Cardinals, sending Howard back to his hometown while acquiring Pujols. Good luck with that. Even if the Phillies sign Pujols outright, the Cardinals wouldn’t trade for Howard. They’d put the $25 to $30 million to much better use.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – They were the one team that scared me as the franchise that would drive a Brinks truck to his doorstep. Now they claim they won’t spend much beyond what they have. It might be misdirection, but they also have Mark Trumbo, who was no slouch this year.
The San Francisco Giants – The Giants need offense. Fans don’t really appreciate winning a World Series and then missing the playoffs the next season. But the team also has high hopes for Brandon Belt. I don’t think the Giants are much of a threat but I may just be trying to talk myself off the ledge.
Florida Miami Marlins – Dwight Gooden apparently believes that he’s a baseball analyst because he Tweets about baseball news, and he predicted that Pujols was going to follow Ozzie Guillen to South Beach. I would make fun of this, but it has Stephen A. Smith inside source written all over it.