Daily Links – The Wild Pujols Speculation Edition

by Matt on February 14, 2011

in Red Sox

A while back I went out on a serious limb, put my rep on the line, and predicted that Albert Pujols’ contract situation would be a big news story.  Turns out I was right.  Aren’t you impressed?

Link time!

The above linked article is by Bob Nightengale of USAToday who reports that Pujols in a fit of rage ate several babies turned down a contract offer from the Cardinals.  Negotiations aren’t progressing well so it seems Pujols, who has set a deadline of Tuesday to complete a new contract with the Cardinals, will indeed become a free agent when the season ends.  Over at BP Tommy Bennett wonders if Pujols will ignore his self-imposed deadline in the event the Cardinals come to him with a very good offer (it’s a free article).  It’s possible, but my guess is once the deadline passes, Pujols will stick to his guns and test the free agent waters at season’s end.

All of which begs the question, if Pujols becomes a free agent what interest will the Red Sox have?  Having just traded three top prospects for Adrian Gonzalez, the Sox could ignore the Pujols situation and focus on signing Gonzalez to an extension, and that is likely what will happen.  But extending Gonzalez means the Sox are out of the Pujols derby.  Instead, they could postpone negotiations with Gonzalez and wait to see how the Pujols situation turns out.  There are few players you’d rather have at first base than Adrian Gonzalez, but Albert Pujols is one of them.  Even at the reported price, Gonzalez will cost about sixty percent of the roughly $300 million that Pujols is reportedly asking for.

But if you’ll continue to indulge me, I’d like to point out one more thing.  The Yankees would no doubt rather have Pujols than current first baseman Mark Teixeira.  That is no slight to Teixeira, but Pujols hit .312/.414/596. last year.  The year before he had an 1100 OPS.  Last year Teixeira hit .256/.365/.481.  Teixeira has a full no-trade clause in his contract, but I wouldn’t put it past the Yankees to somehow find a way to move him.  When you add it all together – paying some freight to move Teixeira, the cost of Pujols’ A-Rod-esque new contract, and the luxury tax implications of both – the cost would be stratospheric.  But so what?  They are the Yankees.  This not surprisingly brings us back to the Red Sox.  Do you think for a minute that Theo Epstein will sit back in his office chair playing sodoku while Brian Cashman woos and signs the greatest hitter of this generation to a ten year contract?  Yeah, me neither.

It was the first day of Spring Training, but workouts won’t begin until later.  Still, some players did some light throwing.  Mostly there were lots of interviews in Fort Myers today.  Terry Francona spoke to the press about J.D. Drew, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon and a bunch of other stuff.  To my knowledge he somehow avoided making fun of Pedroia’s hair.  You can see video hereDaniel Bard and Bobby Jenks both spoke as well.  The latter is ready to embrace a new role on a new team, but he’s not yet used to the colors of his new uniform.  Hopefully that doesn’t hinder him into the season.

Bob Nightengale of USAToday recounts what has to be the first ever meeting of Carl Crawford and Ben Affleck.  As you might guess, Crawford was the more composed of the two.

Finally, Keith Olbermann thinks the Yankees and Mets will both miss the playoffs this season, which is about as likely as C.C. Sabathia losing thirty pounds.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake February 14, 2011 at 7:43 am

Matt — I think your paragraph about Pujols & Yankees is spot on. I see so many articles about this situation that say something like, “Pujols won’t get the kind of offers he’s looking for because the Yanks and Red Sox won’t be in the bidding for him.” That may be true for us (assuming we do have a secret extension with Gonzalez already), but it baffles me that people think the Yanks wouldn’t find a way to get in on Pujols if he becomes available. If they’ll give $35 million to a reliever, I think they’d do what they need to do to make the roster and financial moves to land one of the best players of all time.

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Jim February 14, 2011 at 8:25 am

Since the Sox have a large, but not unlimited payroll, AGon makes more sense for them as he’s younger, nearly as productive (or at least projects to be in Fenway), will likely sign for a smaller annual salary and perhaps a slightly shorter contract.

That said the Sox have about $30M coming off the books with the contracts of Ortiz. Scutaro and Drew. They pretty much have their core signed or under control till after the 2012 season and could live with Reddick or Kalish providing solid defense in right even if they struggle at the plate.

Hmmm Ells, Carter, Pujols, AGon and Youk, that’s score a lot of runs.

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Matt February 14, 2011 at 10:39 am

They would score a lot of runs, Jim, but where would you play them defensively? I don’t think Pujols would sign in Boston to be the DH which would mean moving Gonzalez there and I can’t imagine he’d be happy about that.

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Jim February 14, 2011 at 11:47 am

One of them would DH. The RS will not sign both, so why worry about whether someone wouldn’t be happy about being a DH.

If the Yanks were to sign Albert the position problem would also exist. Plus ARod should be a full time DH as his range at third has diminished to that of a potted plant.

But to play with positions for a moment, Pujols came up as a 3rd baseman/left fielder as the Cards had lump at first named McGwire. As I recall his defense was pretty mediocre at 3rd and in left it was Man Ram like with greater effort.

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Matt February 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm

New York owes A-Rod $170 million over the next seven years. I’m getting off topic here, but I very much doubt the Yankees are eager to move Mr. Rod to DH any time soon. Doing so seriously limits their flexibility, requires them to find another third baseman (and pay him), and seriously cuts into A-Rod’s value. It was a bad contract before, but it’ll be much worse if he spends the last seven seasons of it DHing.

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