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If Albert Pujols hits free agency, it’s a near certainty that both the Yankees and Red Sox will pursue him…

Feb 10, 2011, 1:04 AM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

I don’t have sources. I don’t know Albert Pujols and I’ve only been to Yankee Stadium once, back when I was a 15-year-old high school sophomore. I saw Roger Clemens get his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout in the same night, then tried to pat down goosebumps as Elton John’s “Rocket Man” rang through the grainy speakers. That’s as close as I’ve ever been to the Yankees’ front office, though, and a story with absolutely nothing to do with this post.

These are my own thoughts. They don’t come from a source with knowledge of the situation. They don’t come from the Yankees, or the Cardinals, or Pujols.
I just want to throw an opinion into the mix of opinions about what’s happening with baseball’s best hitter.

Jon Heyman of SI.com wrote on Twitter this evening that there is “virtually no chance” that the Cardinals and Pujols’ representatives will be able to reach a contract extension before the slugger shows up to spring training on February 16  — his self-imposed deadline. I don’t know how Heyman came across that information and can’t really guess whether it’s true. But let’s go ahead and assume it is.

Let’s assume that Pujols arrives at spring training this year without a contract that covers him past 2011 and that he denies the Cardinals a shot at him in those five or six November days between the end of the World Series and the beginning of baseball’s free agency period. We’re talking about a guy who has hit a combined .331/.426/.624 over the past 10 seasons, and he is hitting the free agent market. The finest start to a career in the history of baseball, and he goes up for sale.

That “best ever” talk isn’t hyperbole, by the way, and those superlatives belong right where they’re written.

I love this stat from Joe Posnanski, the best sports writer on the planet:

Pujols has averaged a .331 batting average, 43 doubles, 41 home runs, 119 runs and 123 RBIs over his first 10 seasons in Major League Baseball.  Only nine players in the game’s history have produced that stat line or better in a given season, and all nine of those players did it just once.

Pujols is historically great. He has fantastic instincts defensively at first base and great range for such a big-bodied guy. People sometimes forget that he came up as an outfielder and third baseman, and I’ll tell you with certainty that he could probably still play both of those positions at a high level.

If he hits the free agent market in November, every big money team in baseball — and even some of the lower market ones — will be trying to bring Pujols in with real and legitimate bids. He’s a brand, a family man taking care of a wife and four children. One of those children, Isabella, is from his wife’s previous marriage and was diagnosed with down syndrome at birth. Pujols has provided millions in aid to down syndrome research and he actively runs his own foundation for a kid that is not his own. The dude is as genuine as it gets and marketable beyond comprehension.

Many sections of the baseball writing community have been quick to dismiss the Red Sox, and more specifically the Yankees, from the potential hunt for Pujols: The Brand. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney did it. Scores of others have, too.

To me, that’s not a realistic line of thinking.

Sure, they’re both set at first base. The Yankees have invested an eight-year, $180 million contract into Mark Teixeira, who is great defensively and should bounce back from a relatively down year at the plate. The Red Sox just made a big trade for Adrian Gonzalez, who is probably better than Tex, and they’re planning to lock him up before the end of spring training.

But look at DH. For the Yanks, Jorge Posada is going to get the majority of at-bats there this season and he’s turning 40 this year. For the Red Sox, it’ll be one final year of David Ortiz and all of his inconsistencies.

Pujols is both aggressive and talented at defense, and he plays the first base position like he enjoys it, but is he really going to turn down $20 million, or $10 million, or whatever more the Yankees and Red Sox might be bidding over other teams, for an opportunity to play the field? Both clubs can promise him twice-weekly looks at first base, and maybe more. If it’s all about the money, it’s all about the money. And it certainly appears that Pujols has directed his free agent to find the most cash possible.

The Cubs could also make a run at the man who has done so much damage against them. They’re only locked into Carlos Pena at first base for one year and Aramis Ramirez‘s hideous contract is about to come off the books. It’d be a great way for the Ricketts family to get on the good side of the fanbase after a somewhat shaky beginning. To assume that Pujols cares one way or another about the rivalry would be a practice in gullibility. Welcome to the modern sports world.

Pujols’ free agency, if it comes, will be an absolute circus. The Yanks and Sawx will be the ringmasters.

  1. terryindallas - Feb 10, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    I’d say it’s a near certainty that many teams will, at the very least, explore the idea of signing Pujols. He’s a singular player and I’d expect at least a dozen teams to at least kick the tires, with maybe half a dozen seriously considering it. NYY, Bos, the Nationals, Cubs, LAA, TX Rangers, maybe SF. Several teams could conceivable make the deal for a player of his stature and abilities.

    • Drew Silva - Feb 10, 2011 at 1:44 AM

      Didn’t want to throw this into the post ’cause it might be ridiculous, but what if the Pirates’ owners all of a sudden decided they wanted to fill that 37,000-seat stadium each night? They could do it with one contract, right?’

      Just an example. No team should be counted out.

      • trevorb06 - Feb 10, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        In my MLB2010 The Show Pujols got signed to a monster contract by the Oakland A’s after he expired. I laughed hysterically.

  2. Mike Luna - Feb 10, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    I’m still going to assume that the Cubs have the best shot until they come right out and say they’re not interested. If they’d stop trading away their few valuable prospects, they could build a seriously contending team with Pujols as the cornerstone.

    The Yanks and Sox might flirt a little and make offers, but I still think Pujols is a lot more about want than need. More so for New York, who still have to pay Sabathia and their entire infield a considerable sum for several more seasons.

    Having a $30MM DH doesn’t make sense, but Yankee money rarely makes sense, I guess. Still, NY probably needs to worry more about pitching at the moment anyway.

    • Drew Silva - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:03 AM

      They have some decent pitching prospects that could rise quickly (Banuelos, Bentaces). Maybe they’ll want a starting pitcher more than Pujols next winter, but the market is full of mediocre dudes beyond Chris Carpenter, who will probably have his option exercised:

      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/03/2012-mlb-free-agents.html

      I think they might want to look for a new offensive core soon with Jeter tailing off quickly and A-Rod trending that way as well.

      • Drew Silva - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:14 AM

        Cano and Teixeira would be a part of that “new” offensive core, of course.

      • Mike Luna - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:23 AM

        It’s the fact that they still have A-Rod that makes me wonder if Pujols is a serious possibility. Paying just two of your players over $57MM is ludicrous. If you add Sabathia to that, it’s $80MM for three players.

        I know the Yankees have deep pockets, but they’ve got to reach a breaking point eventually, don’t they? They may not physically run out of money, but are the new Steinbrenners willing to pony up that kind of cash?

        I’m not trying to be contrary or sarcastic, I’m genuinely wondering how far the Yankees can really go before they can’t or won’t go any further.

      • Drew Silva - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:27 AM

        Yeah, I see what you’re saying. I mean, it’s crazy money. But what did the Yankees make off the YES Network last year? I know it was over $300 million. Add in No. 1 attendance, No. 1 merchandise, probably No.1 concessions, and we’re talking something close to $1 billion per season in revenue. At least $800 million. Sky’s the limit, right?

        Or am I making too many assumptions…

      • qcubed3 - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:36 AM

        This is painful, but the Yankees might be able to make Pujols work by doing this:

        Move Jeter to the outfield, A-rod back to SS, Tex to 3rd, and Pujols stays at 1st (Cano remains at 2nd). Obviously this defensive alignment isn’t perfect, but I imagine the Yankees would make some extreme measures to get Pujols signed.

        That being said, I still think he goes to the cubs.

      • lampdwellr - Feb 10, 2011 at 12:42 PM

        QBCubed, they can just DH one of those guys.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 1:03 PM

        Calling that defensive alignment less than perfect is quite an understatement. A-Rod’s a lot closer to being a 1B than a SS, and it’s not just Jeter’s build that’s statuesque.

    • bigharold - Feb 10, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      It’ll NEVER be the Cubs. Never!

      If Pujols gets to FA the Yankees will do a lot more than “kick the tires” or “flirt” with signing him. It will become a very real possibility. Why? Because the Yankees are one of the few teams that would be willing to pay him as much and as long as Pujols thinks his next contract should be. In that regard they’ve an unequaled track record. Also, it’s more than just production on the field. The Yankee organization understand that on some level it’s about star power too. Bring Pujols to the Bronx will be the biggest bang since, .. well A-Rod came to the Bronx, .. and who really saw that coming either?

      Sure the Yankees need pitching but there isn’t really much quality FA pitching available now or even going into next year so there is no point in forcing the issue. But, if Pujols hits the open market, I expect the Yankees to be in the thick of it. And, if the Yankees don’t sign him the Angels not the RS are the best bet for him to land. The RS aren’t going anywhere near a 8-10 year deal for a 30+ player. Forget the Cubs because as good as he is purported to be defensively he’s going to need to go to a team that slide him into the DH spot eventually. NL teams won’t want to give him the length or amount he’s looking for either for the same reasons the Cards don’t want to.

      “No batting for the New York Yankees DH number 6 Albert Pujols, .. number 2″

      • frankyd1214 - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        Stupid yankmee fans. Jeter to the outfield next year…. tex and gay rod and fat albert splitting time all over the infield. U yankmee fans are clowns. U’ll get him just like you got Cliff lee.

        Red SoX get him period.

  3. projectshadow316 - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    Pujols would never go to Pittsburgh, even if they gave Albert the entire city. He’d be putting up his numbers for nothing, although he does have a WS ring. I could see Boston going after him if the Yankees even begin to consider it, if for nothing more than to stop him from going to the Bronx.

    • Drew Silva - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:23 AM

      Yeah, I don’t think he’d ever go to Pittsburgh either. I’m just saying, almost any team would have a reason to make a bid. He’s not a normal free agent.

  4. losburrosinblue - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    Let’s just hope the Dodgers don’t sign him. He’ll hit 40 home runs one week, then he’ll get injured and his career will effectively be over. The Dodgers will then pay him $25 million a year for the next millenium…

  5. losburrosinblue - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    Let’s just hope the Dodgers don’t sign him. He’ll hit 40 home runs one week, then he’ll get injured and his career will effectively be over. The Dodgers will then pay him $25 million a year for the next millennium…

  6. dan1111 - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:58 AM

    I think you have exaggerated the Sox’s and Yankees’ overspending. Their reputation in this area is greater than the reality. Yes, these two teams (especially the Yanks) have overpaid some players. But they don’t give out contracts that are categorically different from what other teams give out: what about Barry Zito, Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano, Jayson Werth, and many others? The Sox and Yankees are both well-run teams. They are not going to pay more for Pujols than teams that actually need a first baseman. And they certainly aren’t going to pay enough to convince him to DH.

    • quintjs - Feb 10, 2011 at 5:23 AM

      Because the Yankees would NEVER pay.. say 12 million for a setup man?

      I completely agreed with everything you said and have written that post myself a few times, but not since the signing of Soriano.

      If things go well, neither side will go after Pujols THAT seriously I think, but with the Sox getting both Gonzalez and Crawford and the Yankees signing Soriano, it proves that if things get desperate enough both sides would do about anything to improve.

      • dan1111 - Feb 11, 2011 at 4:10 AM

        Point taken with regard to Soriano. If the Yankees had a hole at first base, I could indeed see them offering much more than anyone else.

        But in my opinion, offering him such a contract just to DH would take it to a whole different level. Most players with excellent defensive reputations want to stay in the field. If this is true of Pujols, the contract would have to be that much bigger to lure him, and the Yankees would get less value in return. I can’t imagine even them valuing the DH spot that much.

  7. uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 5:24 AM

    Personally I do NOT believe the Yankees will seriously consider signing Pujols. Yes they will kick the tires, but I think that’s as far as their interest goes. Unless something unforeseen happens between now and the end of the 2011 season. Having said that I certainly believe the Yankees have the financial resources to sign him without any difficulty. The easiest way to know that is just look at the Yankees committed payroll for players in 2011. They have 9 players committed for about $160MM. Come 2014 they have committed contracts to 3 players for about $75MM (ARod, CC and Tex). Factor in another roughly $80MM+/- for a few additional “All Star/Premier” players then (2 premier pitchers, Soriano or equivalent, Cano, outfielder) and you will have about $160MM committed to 8 premier players starting in 2014 and beyond (without Pujols. The Yankees could add Pujols for say $30MM if that’s the going price. In that case their payroll would be about $190MM for 11 players. I would think they can certainly round out their 25 man opening day roster for about $30 to $35MM with prospects/players with under 6 years ML experience and “regular” priced starters and roll players. That would only make their anticipated payroll for 2014 and the next several years about $225MM+/-. Not substantially different then it is now. The only issue would be for 2012 and 2013 when their payroll would probably be about $240M. But again even at about $240MM for a couple of years it’s a payroll the Yankees could easily absorb even without considering the additional revenue Pujols would generate in Yankee pinstripes.

    • frankyd1214 - Feb 14, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      The yanks FO should just persue so they drive up the market and make the Redsox (likely the place he lands) overpay like the Yankmees always end up doing. Atleast they are handcuffing a big chunk of change for the next 10 years that the Redsox cant spend somewhere else.

  8. Paul White - Feb 10, 2011 at 7:20 AM

    While it would clearly be a longshot since the team will be struggling, it’s also not completely crazy to think of the Royals as a possibility here, for two pretty big reasons. First, they have almost ZERO money committed to players after this season. Billy Butler’s new contract, which will pay him $8 next year, is the only guaranteed contract the Royals currently have for 2012 and beyond. Dropping $30-$35 million annually on Pujols is something they can pretty easily afford to do, especially since they fully plan to have cheap, young talent nearly everywhere else on the field. Two, Pujols is from Kansas City. Well, not really. But he went to high school and junior college in the Kansas City area.

    I certainly have no expectation that this will happen, but if money really is the key factor for Pujols, the Royals will have plenty of it to offer, along with a location he’s familiar with and an impressive wave of young talent they can surround him with in the next few years. It’s a longshot, but not nearly as crazy as it would have been just a year or two ago.

    • dan1111 - Feb 11, 2011 at 4:11 AM

      Hope springs eternal.

  9. fellspointbird - Feb 10, 2011 at 7:36 AM

    Not sure why no one has discussed:
    -Pujols playing RF for Yankees
    -Texierra playing RF for Yankees

    *If A-Rod, fresh off a gold glove would move, I’m sure others would.
    **This applies to the Red Sox as well.
    ***Pujols has a love for this history of the game. I recall reading an article, wherein he described the Cardinals as the second best team in baseball history (paraphrasing).

    Doesn’t look good for my Orioles, either way.

    • soobster - Feb 10, 2011 at 8:21 AM

      I agree. While it was a long time ago, he started out playing LF and 3b his first 3 seasons. So it’s not like he couldn’t play RF or A.Rod or Tex wouldn’t move to RF or some sort of mixture between the 3 of RF, 1b, 3b, and DH.

      When greatest player ever (potentially) becomes available, you find a spot for him no matter what.

      If you think about it, the Yankees payroll really wouldn’t be that much more than it is now if you subtract Pettitte and Posada’s salaries and supplant it with a 30M/yr Pujols salary. Or hell, even if they trade/ditch Burnett’s 16.5M for the ’12/’13 seasons.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 1:07 PM

        They can’t just ditch Burnett’s contract, and they’d have to pay most of it if they traded him. Pettitte’s salary is already gone. So you’re only talking about Posada’s $13M being off the books, and that will be more than made up for by backloaded contract raises and arbitration raises.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

        Ari – I have to disagree with you just a bit. First while it’s true the Yankees would have eat a portion of AJ’s contract I don’t think it would be as bad as some would suspect. Just look at what Vazquez turned down. I was my understanding he turned down a $20MM 2 year contract. The only reason he took the contract from Florida was to improve his chance of getting a better deal in 2012. I have no doubt that some team especially a NL team would be willing to offer $10M per for AJ (especially if he rebounds slightly this year). That means if the Yankees did absorb some of his contract it would be for about $6.5M per for 2 years. He’s with the Yankees this year for better or worse.
        As for what comes off the payroll actually aside from Posada’s $13.1M contract Igawa’s $4M and Marta’s $4M will come off the books as well in 2012. So that’s over $21M. One other comment that I must disagree with you. The only contract that is priced higher on the back end in Soriano’s and that’s only for $3M in 2013 versus 2012 not exactly what one normally consider back loaded. The Yankees don’t back load contracts and there is no one on the Yankee 25 man opening day roster that has a back loaded contract (except if you consider Soriano’s $3M which was designed that way more because that’s when he’s anticipated to replace Mo). In fact if you check baseball-reference ARod’s contract was front loaded.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 6:45 PM

        The Yankees do tend not to backload contracts as much as other teams, but I’m afraid you’re wrong that no one on the 25-man roster is backloaded. It seems like maybe you just have a different definition of backloaded, though; it doesn’t mean SEVERELY backloaded, just that there’s more money in the back then the front. Here’s the list:

        1. Jeter will be making $1M more.
        2. Cano will be making $4M more. And then hit FA and either leave (unlikely) or get a raise to prolly at least $20M.
        3. Soriano will be making $1M more.
        4. Swisher will be making $1M more.
        5. Granderson will be making $2M more.

        So that’s $9 more from backloaded contracts, then arb raises to Gardner, Joba, Hughes, Martin, and Logan, which I’d estimate to be another $8M or so. Minus the $2M frontloading of A-Rod, and the $21M in contracts coming off the books, and you’ve got only $6M coming off the books. And that’s assuming the Yankees don’t pick anyone else up.

        Anyway, the point is that the Yankees would definitely be spending a significant amount more overall if they grab Pujols than the $201M (est. from B-R) they’re spending now, which was the main thing I was disagreeing with.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 7:34 PM

        Ari – my friend you are surely stretching it when you consider $1M or $2M difference back loading. If you bothered to read my earlier post (see the one I posted at 5:24am above) you would have read that I admit that for 2012 and 2013 the Yankee payroll would probably be about $240MM. Then come 2014 when other players payrolls come off the books, etc. the payroll for the Yankees come 2014 was likely to be about $225M+/-. I even explained how I arrived at the $225MM number in that post and again in a reply to Jonny5 for the 2014 season below. Considering inflation, etc…not significantly higher then 2010 and considering the added revenue having Pujols in Yankee pinstripes would mean/generate to the YESNetwork and to the Yankees for “other marketing opportunities”.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 9:31 PM

        Teams generally don’t do, like, $10 million the first year, $20 million the second, $30 million the third. (And when they do, people call that “heavily backloaded”.) They generally do what those contracts I mentioned do, which is to backload by a couple million each year. That’s your pretty standard backloading, here. Nothing wrong with backloading, mind you. It helps the club out more than the player.

        Anyway, dude, I haven’t argued with you about the Yankees’ payroll figures. I was saying that the other guy’s statement, that the Yankees’ payroll would stay basically the same in 2012 even if they added Pujols, is wrong. Both of my posts in this mini-thread were just making that point. Sorry if you inferred that I was arguing with you about team payroll! Your figures seem spot on.

        Although, having just said that your addition looks right, I’d say your projection seems off to me. Giving $190M to 11 players means you are not going to spend only $225M overall. That’s only $2.5M apiece for 14 players, and the Yankees haven’t spent that little on 14 players in many many many years. If they signed Pujols and had $190M in 11 players, their payroll would probably be well over $250M.

        Whether they can do that or will do that is another question, and one we’ll just have wait and see on. But you can’t expect the Yankees to be spending (relative) peanuts on 60% of their roster.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 10:01 PM

        Ari, my friend not to call into question your numbers but I think I am probably a little better judge of Yankee spending then you are. But I think this is all a moot point because as I’ve stated before I seriously doubt the Yankees will do anything more then kick the tires on Pujols. Besides if you took the time to look into the anticipated Yankee roster should they seriously go after Pujols other then the players I’ve mentioned, most are or would be Yankee prospects such as Gardner, Montero, Nunez, Robertson, Nova, Logan, a “Killer B” etc… all relatively inexpensive Yankee prospects and other roll players and relievers. All relatively inexpensive even come 2014. I stand my my original numbers. Then when you consider ARod’s salary drops from $26MM in 2014 to $21MM in 2015 I see the Yankee payroll pretty much remaining constant from 2014 on at about $225M+/- if they did sign Pujols.

  10. loungefly74 - Feb 10, 2011 at 8:18 AM

    Salivating at the idea of Pujols coming to SF…won’t happen but I can dream.

  11. Jonny 5 - Feb 10, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    I would sooner bet on the field making a serious offer at or above what St louis is willing to shell out, than the Sox or Yankees at this point. The Luxury tax on having that many big name players will be astounding. The Yanks would have to cover a 40% tax, I think the Sox are at 33% or something like that. The ability for a single man to create wins is overshadowed by this dollar amount. Does it even make sense for either team, when they could probably use two good pitchers more successfully? I would look at St Louis beating whatever the Sox or Yankees are willing to shell out. That is if neither teams make no moves to trade any of their other big contracts. I have a strange feeling St Louis feels the same, and they expect to actually save money by allowing him to hit the FA market. I mean 275 million for 10 years is probably crazy for Albert at this point regardless of his play today, and that is the rumored asking price. The Birds can still throw that type of contract his way after he becomes a FA, no harm no foul, and I’m about 90% certain he’d take that and remain in his home stadium. You just can’t blow off that dollar amount when it also keeps you home, in your comfort zone. My guess is there will be no deal and Albert is signed by the Birds as a FA. Shrewd as the Cards front office can be, I see them saving some money by doing this. But then again, I know squat.

    • uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 9:22 AM

      Actually my friend I believe 2011 is the last year the luxury tax. I may be wrong but I think that is is the case. Will the owners agree on a new luxury tax probably but who knows at what rate and what threshold. For 2011 it’s at $178MM. If it is re-instituted after the 2011 at about $185MM (since every year it has increased in the past, it’s been by about $7MM+/-) as for the rate my guess is the rate will come down with it being a new agreement among owners. Especially given the abuses by many team owners not using the money in the way it was intended. That’s just my opinion. If we assume based on my earlier post a payroll for the Yankees of about $230MM +/- a threshold of $185MM and even a luxury tax at the same current rate highest rate of 40% of the difference. That’s still only a luxury tax of $18MM. Like I said earlier I do NOT believe the Yankees would seriously “go after” Pujols, but the possibility of an $18MM+/- luxury tax bill on top of an approximately $225MM to $230MM payroll won’t be a deterrent to them. The revenue Pujols would generate for the Yankees will far exceed that on the YESNetwork alone.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 10, 2011 at 9:35 AM

        Speculation is all we have UYF. And I speculate that the Luxury tax remains, although it may go up some. It isn’t just going to the poorer teams out there. It supports foreign baseball leagues which are showing to have real value. And half goes to player benefits. The IGF isn’t the largest benefactor here, players are. The IGF gets 25% of the lux tax plus the first 5 million from any given team. I also would bet it levels off for a few years given the fact our economy is tanking.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 9:45 AM

        Jonny5 – That’s pretty much what I said. In my example above I’m guessing it will still be in place. I even used the highest rate 40% I only said the threshold would probably increase by a mere $8MM which isn’t much. Even if it only increases by $2 or $3MM to $180MM+/- threshold. A luxury tax of $20MM in that case won’t deter the Yankees from going after Pujols if they so chose. Which I don’t think they will, but It won’t be because of the cost, it will be because they have no place for him in the field without shuffling several people around or having him and Tex split time between 1st base and DH and I don’t think that will happen. But like you said it’s all speculation and opinion.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 10, 2011 at 10:15 AM

        Actually signing Albert to what A-rod is making will end up costing them in excess of 100 million dollars over the lifetime of the contract, He’s not as young as A-rod was when signed and it’s a larger chance of ending in disaster for them. I think all of this together would be too much of risk for even the Yankees. It’s a hunch. I think they’ll have a higher payroll than you mentioned as well. They still have pitchers to land don’t forget.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        Jonny5 – Actually my friend there will be only a few months difference in their ages when Pujols signs his next contract versus when ARod signed his contract with the Yankees for the 2007 season. Not a significant difference. Second I believe if you check my original post I’ve accounted for the Yankees signing 2 pitchers and the monies I assigned for them in my calculation was $35MM for both per season. Don’t forget at some point AJ will be gone. The Yankees then will have and let’s assume my numbers for the pitchers (CC $23MM, 2 new recruits $35MM, Hughes $6 or $7MM and one Killer B MLB minimum). About $66MM total about about the same as it was in 2010 for the starting five. Even if I’m off by a bit the difference would be insignificant. In about 3 years Jeter will come off the payroll and probably replace by Nunez at minimal cost, I figured Cano at $20M when he gets renewed and about $10M or so to replace one of the outfields. The Yankees save money in the future on Posada with either Martin or one on the talented prospects and Rivera comes off the books in a couple of years and replaced by someone I’ve already accounted for in the payroll structure. I may be off a bit but I doubt it’s by any significant amount. So the monies there for Pujols and the luxury tax won’t be a deterrent.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        I’m a tight ass of sorts Uyf and i do have a whole bunch of trouble getting into a “yankee state of mind” when it comes to money. I did miss your inflation for more pitchers as well. Hey maybe you’re right. Like i said i have a different view of what millions are than the Yanks do.

    • bigharold - Feb 10, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      If it was going to take 250 mil and less than 8 years he’d already have signed with the Cards.

      NL teams can’t afford to sign him and him be a bench player when he’s 38-40 years old he needs to go to the AL where he can evolve into a DH. The RS won’t touch that type of contract. If anything they’ll try to drive up the price for the Yankees and hope that it’ll be an albatross during the second half of the contract. Besides, I don’t think John Henry got over the hives from signing Crawford and agreeing to sign Gonzalez yet.

      It’s going to take 10 years and about 275-300 mil. The only team will and capable of that is the Yankees. And, if not the Yankees the Angels. They seem to be a little POed about missing out on FA he last few years. The O’s maybe but they really didn’t do more than get their feet wet with Teixeira so they are a real dark horse.

  12. donniebb23 - Feb 10, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    Drew, I think you’re forgetting the REAL reason you went to that game (I know because I was there too). It was Tino’s first game back to the stadium after he left the Yanks and went to the Cardinals… at least that’s why I bought the tickets. Turned out to be quite the historic game.

    • Drew Silva - Feb 10, 2011 at 1:45 PM

      Forgot about that part. As a Cards fan who had to live through two seasons of Tino under-performing, I wasn’t exactly cheering the guy.

  13. nittanylion0 - Feb 10, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    The Mets will be all over him. Sandy would break every one of his rules to get him and then deal Ike Davis for some pitching help. And don’t give me the money thing… The Mets have enough and would make a mint at the gate with Albert on the team…

  14. Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    I can kind of sort of squint and see him on the Sox, especially if Boston, monitoring the situation, decides not to extend A-Gone and get whichever of the Fielder/Gonzalez/Pujols trio they feel they’re getting the best deal on. Not likely, but vaguely possible.

    On the other hand, New York’s going to have a 1B/DH duo pretty soon already with A-Rod and Tex. Sure, he’s worth more to NY than other teams due to their revenue, but then there’s the fact that he’s defensively a poor fit for the team, plus the luxury tax. I’m just not sure it makes sense for the Yankees to pay out $42M a year (with the luxury tax) for another 1B/DH, not when another team could pay $30M and get a guy who fits their team better.

    • Jonny 5 - Feb 10, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      ding ding ding ding. Now go pick up your washer and dryer Ari.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 11:45 AM

        Sweet. Now I can wash the clothes I’ve been wearing every day while commenting on blogs from my mom’s basement. While wearing a klingon costume.

  15. mikedi33 - Feb 10, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    I still think there is no way St.Louis does not sign him. Probably not before spring training but some way a deal gets done. I can not see how any franchise especially one with the history of St.Louis letting one of the elite greats walk.However if gets to a point where this is inevitable I think you see a Howard for Albert swap. It makes too much sense. St.louis gets a lot more than a first round draft pick. They get a hometown guy in Howard. If the Phils can find $$$ for Lee they can find A few more for Albert. Plus I cant see either Albert Or Ryan rejecting a trade.

  16. BC - Feb 10, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Where the heck would the Red Sox and Yankees put him? They both have Gold Glove first basemen who hit the heck out of the ball. You’re gonna DH Pujols? No chance. Although as cool as it is having a player named Ike playing 1B…. the Mets have a lot of dough (Beltran) coming off the payroll. Why the heck not?

    • bigharold - Feb 10, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      “Where the heck would the Red Sox and Yankees put him? They both have Gold Glove first basemen who hit the heck out of the ball. You’re gonna DH Pujols? ”

      Absolutely!

      Between A-Rod, Teixeira and Pujols the DH 3B and 1B there will be more than enough ABs for everybody. And, DH will lessen the wear and tear for both 1B thereby enhancing them both offensively and defensively. They’ll both be better longer.

      Pujols will need to face the fact that NL teams aren’t giving him the kind of contract he wants to play 1B until he’s 40. It’s his offense that gets him that type of contract. The wear and tear of playing the field will hasten the decline of his offensive skills and increase the likelihood of injury. If a team is going to get the maximum benefit from him it will need the option of the DH. If that wasn’t the case the Cards would’ve signed him already.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        Except that A-Rod ain’t gonna be a 3B for that much longer. And he and Tex are signed for the next 6 years together.

      • bigharold - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        Between, 1B, 3B and DH there will be plenty of ABs and playing time for al three.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:29 PM

        Yes, except that two years from now, none of them will be able to play 3B. So that’s three players for 1B and DH.

      • bigharold - Feb 10, 2011 at 4:04 PM

        Or, you just put Pujols in at 3B. His arm might not stand it every day but it won’t be needed every day either. By the time A-Rods contract expires Pujols can slide right into the DH slot.

        There is still a pretty good chance that the Cards will sign Pujols. Keep in mind hat things got pretty nasty between the Yankees and Jeter needlessly. But, if not it’ll be because the Cards contract offer wasn’t big enough. Apparently the man feels like he’s earned it and considering that he’s essentially been under paid in past contracts he might well have a point. If that’s the case then ask yourself who does 10 year hundreds of million dollar contracts better than the Yankees? Who understands the need for on field production as well as star power better than the Yankees? The only limiting factor is the Yankee themselves.

        If the Yankees find a way to trade for King Felix and sign him or some other ace to a long term expensive deal then they might take themselves out of the running. Otherwise, look for the Yankees to counter with the next best thing, the best hitter in the game. It becomes even more of an imperative if the Yankees either do poorly in the playoffs or don’t make the playoffs. Infact if Pujols becomes a FA and the Yankees don’t make the playoffs you can bet the Yankees will sign him.

        I’m sure somewhere somebody in the Yankee FO has figured out that if they ever do sign Pujols they have a very good chance to end up with three of the five all time HR hitter. All of who began their career elsewhere but spent significant time as Yankees. And, even perhaps all of them owning the all time record at one point or another.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 6:54 PM

        Pujols cannot play 3B. And if you’re waiting for A-Rod to be off the books so Pujols can DH, you have a long long wait ahead.

        The fact is that the Yankees do not get every player they want. Pujols is worth a lot more to teams with an actual 1B opening, and there are a lot of teams out there who make more sense for him.

        And dude, really, you’re not getting King Felix. (At least not until he hits FA.) There is no reason for the Mariners to trade a Cy Young candidate signed to a below-market contract for the next four years.

        Just wait until after 2012, though, and the Yankees will have a ton of SP options in FA. The Yankees have great players that will ACTUALLY become available, unlike Felix, and are much much better fits for the team than Pujols.

  17. uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    What most posters are missing in this is Pujols can veto any trade to any team as a 10/5 player.
    BC let’s be real if you were Pujols would you want to go to the Mets? It’s not like they will be his only choice.

  18. davebrownspiral - Feb 10, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    I’m sure the Yankees and Red Sox will be in the conversations, but I highly doubt either team will pay upwards of $25 million per year for 10 years for a guy to be a part time DH, especially since the Yankees have Texiera’s contract for another six years along with A-Rod’s bloated contract into 2017. The teams discussed in these posts, (Cardinals, Cubs, Nationals, Giants, Whitesox, Detroit, Angels, Dodgers, and perhaps the Mets) are more realistic destinations than the Bronx or Boston.

    • bigharold - Feb 10, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      To get the type of contract that he wants he’ll need to DH because nobody is paying him to that kind of money to play 1B at 38-40 years old.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        He’ll need to DH eventually. But other teams have 1B open now. And the Yankees won’t have DH open either in the next two-three years.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:18 PM

        Ari – Actually the Yankees could probably slot Pujols into the DH in 2012 and 2013. I think ARod’s good for a majority of his at bats at 3rd base until then. Probably come 2014/2017 is when ARod will get the most DH at bats.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 6:25 PM

        Yeah, that’s not far off from what I was saying. Could’ve been clearer by saying, “starting within the next two or three years.”

    • spudchukar - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      As a Cardinal fan it will break my heart to see him leave, but Baltimore or Toronto seem the most likely landing place.

      • bigharold - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:27 PM

        The O’s didn’t even try hard for Teixeira so I doubt it. The Jays, maybe. If I were wagering I’d bet the Yankees or Angels.

      • spudchukar - Feb 10, 2011 at 7:44 PM

        Teixeira is no Pujols.

  19. BC - Feb 10, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    What about Texas?

    • uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 12:43 PM

      I by no means have any insight into the Rangers thinking here. But according to baseball-reference unless the Rangers can unload Young’s contract they will have committed in payroll $120MM in 2012 and $130MM in 2013. If they added Pujols say another $30MM on top of those numbers and they still need a pitcher. I would think a payroll of $150MM to $170MM would be out of the reach of the Rangers at least for the time being.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:09 PM

        Cot’s has only $48M committed for 2012 and $33M for 2013. That’s not counting several arb raises, most particularly Josh Hamilton’s, but their payroll is only $78M now (again, pre-Hamilton deal, but he won’t make more than $10M most likely).

        Where’s BR’s numbers?

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        Looking at BR’s estimates for 2011, they’ve got them pegged at about $90M. Why would it go up $30M in 2012?

      • uyf1950 - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        Ari – That’s a question you would have to ask them but they clearly show that to be the case. If you look at the Rangers site on baseball-reference they clearly have a whole bunch of players that are arbitration eligible for the first time come 2012 and players b-r is estimating the Rangers will need to fill out the 25 man roster that are either FA and will have to be resigned or replaced. Looks like legit numbers to me.

      • davebrownspiral - Feb 10, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        I think Texas learned their lesson about handing exorbitant contracts paid to superstar players. (see Rodriguez, Alex).

      • Ari Collins - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:10 PM

        Where on B-R’s site? I’m curious to see what estimates they have.

  20. bigharold - Feb 10, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    The estimates on BR are including Hamilton’s increase wich is why they went up. And, aside from the already mentioned Rodriguez contract that got the Rangers their current owners, the team has a lot of debt. I can see how they take a real run at Pujols.

  21. katanaguy - Feb 10, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Regarding Pujols….everyone please just settle down a little. Albert will eventually resign with STL. He is a big family man & already loves STL,a basic loyal guy & he already has a comfort zone in STL-he, would not like the spotlight of a mega city team & it’s over zealous media & his charities are located in STL.

    Don’t get sooo rapped up with this deadline business-that’s really his agent shooting craps. His wife does not want to leave & she just may be the darkhorse factor in all of this.

    Royals?…..now that one really almost made me fall out of my chair laughing so hard.

  22. bh0673 - Feb 10, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    If George were still alive and running the team I would say the Yankees would be a player for Pujols but with Hank and Hal and Levine and Trost running the Business I can only see it happening if Texiera or A-Rod end up hurt and unable to play or if the Red Sox did make a major move to sign him and the Yankees could keep him from playing in Boston. George would do anything if he thought it would help the Yankees win however the current group are running it like a business with no emotion. I am a Yankee fan and I don’t see them digging deep for Pujols at this point. I see them looking for pitching. I will add when they traded Alfonso Soriano to Texas for A-Rod they did sell alot of additional season tickets however that was in the old stadium which had a higher capacity then the current stadium and with them averaging 42000 plus a game they don’t have enough extra seats to make a real difference in revenue.

  23. mrcowpatty - Feb 10, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    Dear Albert.

    Baseball has been played in St. Louis for a very, very, very long time. Players come and players go. You will be just another player that played for the Cardinals.

  24. smokehouse56 - Feb 10, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    fellspointbird – Feb 10, 2011 at 7:36 AM

    If he thinks the Cardinals are the second best team in baseball history he’s not much of a histoy buff.

    • spudchukar - Feb 10, 2011 at 11:53 PM

      And who might that second best team be?

    • uyf1950 - Feb 11, 2011 at 4:26 AM

      smokehouse56 – I’m sure the poster is referring to WS titles and he would be absolutely correct.

  25. uyf1950 - Feb 11, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    Gentlemen, while I do not believe what I am about to post will actually happen I do what to throw it out there as a remote possibility and also as “food for thought” about the Yankees and Pujols.
    Currently the Yankees have team options on 2 outfielders. Granderson for 2012 and 2013 and Swisher for just 2012. What if the Yankees were to do the following:
    . Go after Pujols (assuming he does hit the FA market) hard and actually sign him for say 8 years at $30MM per.
    . The Yankees then trade either Granderson or Swisher. Freeing up a spot in the outfield.
    . They move Jeter to right field or left field and put Gardner in one outfield spot and whichever person the didn’t trade (Granderson or Swisher) in the other spot.
    . That leaves the SS position open. The Yankees can move Nunez in that spot or move ARod back and move Nunez over to 3rd base. Either move it doesn’t matter.
    . Then the Yankees for 2012 have to work out Pujols and Tex. Perhaps not as difficult as it seems. If Tex struggles in 2011 with his BA as he has the past 2 years. Then Pujols plays defense 60 to 70% of the time and DH’s 30 to 40% of the time with Tex filling in the difference. If Tex doesn’t struggle then they split the time 50/50.
    Summary, the Yankees saved approximately $15M in salary by trading either Granderson or Swisher moved Nunez to the infield permanently at minimal cost and found a spot for Jeter to finish out his contract/career.
    I’m not saying this is a real possibility, but it does present an interesting concept or like I said “food for thought”.
    BTW – I am apologizing in advance because I’m sure there is probably a mistake or two or three in this post.

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