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?
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 here. Daniel 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.