With the toughest August in memory over, it brought us that much closer to Albertpalooza. No matter what happens in the next three weeks to the Cardinals, even a miracle run to the playoffs will bring the inevitable. Nick alluded to it earlier on Twitter and the upcoming frenzy will have major repercussions not only in St. Louis but four other cities by my count.
This is my first look at aiding in what could be some long trips to Monday for the foreseeable future and all ideas are fair game! Hit me up at aprfool79 with any suggestions for the weekend blues.
Albert Pujols can only make himself more money by continuing the second half barrage that has nearly equaled the first decade of his extraordinary career. Don’t believe me…since not making the NL squad with a late push, how do these numbers compare? (Ed. note/check out the splits post All-Star for the best idea) The real question shouldn’t be how much more can be earned in free agency with a torrid finish but where the checks come from.
In his first at-bat tonight, Albert really should have walked given the 3-0 count. Instead it was a perfect hit-and-run that resulted in a hit and further pushed the average ever closer to the .300 mark. This is significant for plenty of reasons but mainly it shows the determination and tenacity that has made Pujols an icon. Even with free agent competition at first base this winter, the Cards are far from a lock to retain the services of their franchise player.
My view has been set for quite a long time on this topic, and honestly it never mattered who else was available. Just like in Highlander, there can be only one, and St. Louis will not be getting a hometown discount for the game’s premier talent. Age doesn’t play a factor either, since today’s athletes are much better conditioned in how to take care of their bodies.
To be completely honest, it may very well come down to one factor, and it certainly isn’t which division Houston winds up in for 2012. Money talks but so do the wishes of a certain future Hall of Famer. If Albert says he doesn’t want to be a designated hitter, then prospective teams should pay attention. Pujols rarely changes his tune, and that is why one destination rises above the rest of the Top 5.
It really does pain me to type this, since all along a deal with the Cardinals was most logical…two years ago and even last winter. Now that the FA tag is merely a footnote in the story, my biggest fears are about to be realized. Not only will the rest of baseball get a shot at wining and dining No. 5, but the team that ultimately secures his services will be at the wrong end of I-55.
But before getting there, it is important to mention that St. Louis does hold one important ace in hole. Every article from last winter to whenever Albert signs will focus on money, no matter what jersey he is wearing come March in Florida/Arizona. Only the Birds on the Bat have offered some ownership, and it would truly be a shock to see another club match it.
With that being said, it is a five-horse race if you will that won’t be ending before Christmas. The Cardinals may stay in the hunt up to that point, but the new year will not start off heading in a red direction. After St. Louis bows out, the Angels make their final offer. Unless Pujols has interests outside of baseball that are unknown, Los Angeles has to sit back and watch other big markets fight it out for the prize.
The Rangers find this winter much like the last when trying to get a top free agent to the AL West. They have the same luck, however, and finish third yet again in what will turn out to be the most expensive deal to date. Maybe flashbacks to A-Rod’s contract scare Texas out of running, as the final two play a very pricey game of chicken into the new year.
Whether the misdirection comes from Albert’s camp or is mainly a product of the media, the talk of not wanting to play in New York finally comes to a head when the Yankees offer the 10 year, 300 million contract and No. 6 jersey most thought Joe Torre would retire. It doesn’t take long to find out that Team Pujols has had another $300 plus offer in the works since after Thanksgiving though, and Chicago gets the last laugh over the Bronx.
All the Cubs really had to do was make the offer early and wait out the rest of the competition. Since the loyalty factor plays a big part to both sides, the Cardinals did everything they could except mortgage the future. And when you haven’t won a World Series in 1oo+ years, that is exactly what allowed Chicago to pull it off.
Sounds like a pipe dream, I know, but sooner rather than later everyone will know just how important hitting .300 really is.