Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Top 10 Next Teams For Albert Pujols

Yes, we know, we know - awfully preliminary. But with today's hardly shocking announce-ment that the principals have not come to terms, let's have at it. After all, it's mid-February, and it's not as if the writing isn't all over this particular wall. Let's take a look around the majors and see who might pony up for His Machineness, shall we?

Note: I actually think the Cardinals will wind up keeping him and regretting it, but only after he has a massive 2011 for a team that doesn't quite have the horses to make the playoffs anyway. So the target list isn't for teams with an immediate need -- remember, Albert has to agree to any trade -- but the ones that will be in market in four months to a year.

10) Tampa. Well, someone's got to be 10th, and if the Rays are ever serious about being anything more than an occasional irritant to the Coke and Pepsi Yankee Sox, they are going to actually have to bring in talent, rather than export it. Couple it with a new stadium or TV deal, and you could see a real power transfer in the East. It won't happen, but it's nice to dream, especially when you wind up watching 120 games or so of Dan Johnson.

9) Texas. If only to make the fantasy nerds drool at the concept of Albert in a bandbox, but there's actual possibilities here. Texas is going to go to war with Mitch Moreland this year, after watching Chris Davis and Justin Smoak fail to deliver; they might want to upgrade in a big way. And since they went hard after Cliff Lee without success, and have their own TV network, there is money to spend.

8) Seattle. Severely under every form of radar, but not without a need (Smoak at first, MLB's worst 2010 offense in runs, batting average, OBA and SLG last year) or pockets. Remember, these guys had a nine-figure salary with a 100-loss team just a few years ago, and thanks to the Decade of Ichiro, they are basically Japan's MLB team. If Albert wants cash and comfort, along with his Octobers free of stress, he could go here. (And won't. But they might bid up the price for someone else.)

7) NY Mets. Sure, Ike Davis is a nice young player, and the club isn't spending money... now. But in six months, once the Bernie Madoff heat is gone, with the team in the hands of a new (Trump-esque?) owner? Well, that's a mighty fast way to compete with the Yankees in the media, if not the field. As this franchise has shown time and again, that's really where they measure success anyway.

6) San Francisco. The defending champions have Aubrey Huff manning the position, which is to say they've got nothing to keep Albert from settling in. There's money here, a taste for championships after last year's blue snow experience, and the dream that is Barry Zito getting hit by a bus to free up bucks. Besides, Zito's deal has to end at some point, doesn't it?

5) Los Angeles Dodgers. Another team with issues at the present time (due to the divorce issues of the McCourts) that might clear up with a fresh new owner by the time Albert hits the market. They have the power-free James Loney at the position, and ever since Manny Ramirez left town and Matt Kemp turned sulky, there isn't nearly enough thunder in the lineup to support that quality pitching. I think he'd like it here.

4) Colorado Rockies. Kind of a dark horse / under the radar pick, but Todd Helton is old enough to be routinely subbed these days, and if they could ever keep Troy Tulowitzki healthy with Albert, that's a terrifying order, especially at altitude. Matched with reasonable pitching, and I think you could see a return to the days when Denver filled the yard every night. That wasn't so long ago, really. People like offense, and winning.

3) Atlanta Braves. Let's just say that I'm not a believer in the Freddie Freeman Era, or the idea that Atlanta Fan, aka the most fickle major market follower in America, is going to show up for 85 wins a year while teams avoid Justin Heyward. Put Albert here, and the Braves become a ratings draw on TBS again, and a real threat to pass the aging Phillies, especially if that club suffers an injury to one of the Big 4 starters.

2) Chicago White Sox. As the Adam Dunn move shows, they aren't afraid of major shake ups to a team that was knocking on the door a year ago, and Paul Konerko is 34 and might have had his last great year. Considering how much the Cubs want him, you have to think the ChiSox would love to poach, and in the always up for grabs AL Central, he could make a major difference. A middle of the order with him, Dunn, a rejuvenated Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin... it could do some things. Even if those things are hit into a lot of double plays.

1) Chicago Cubs. It sticks the needle in hard, and it fills a definite need; even if Carlos Pena has a decent year on the North Side, he's no Albert. Besides, it's not as if you couldn't get away with trotting one of those guys out to left, especially when they play 81 games a year in a shoebox, albeit one with wind. Theoretically, they've got cash to spend, too.

1 comment:

The Truth said...

As a life long Cardinals fan I thought I would be torn on this issue, but I'm not. Not only do I not want to see the Cards commit to 10 years, I don' even want to see them commit to 8 years. In the long run, they will be better served as a small market team to not resign Albert to a huge deal. They simply don't have the cash to do this AND sign other players.

My only hope at this point is that the Cubs sign him for 10 years and $300 million. It will help them in the short term, but they still will have big Z on a ridiculous contract for another year and Alfonso and his stupid contract for 3 more years. So Albert will have to win them a WS by himself.

Plus in the later years when injuries and age catch up to Albert I'll get to enjoy watching it all unfold here in Chicago.

Albert - Cardinal Nation loves you, but they love the Cardinals more. It might be better for all if you want (and you definitely deserve big dollars) the big payout, to get it from somewhere else.

And if you are going to go down that road, please be open to a mid season trade so the Cards can get something. If not, we look forward to beating you as a Cub. No hard feelings, just business.

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