Albert Pujols meets with the media today in Jupiter, Florida. Photo by Associated Press).
The new craze these days is trying to sniff out the teams that might have a chance at landing the biggest free agent in the history of mankind — well, at least since LeBron James last year.
I’m talking, of course, about Albert Pujols, who as you might have heard has broken off negotiations with the Cardinals. The next step, presumably, will be Pujols taking his slugging self onto the open market next year, and waiting for the frenzy to ensue.
Will he land in Boston? With the Cubs? The Yankees? The
Nationals? Heck, even the poor old Royals are part of the speculation, because Pujols went to high school and college there. Every fan and media outlet has a theory.
But while everyone breathlessly tries to figure out where El Hombre is going to play next, I decided to take the opposite approach. Perhaps that’s what comes from being in Seattle. My list includes the top 10 teams to which either Albert, or the team’s ownership, will say a quick, “No way, Hombre” if and when he becomes a free agent.
1) Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays couldn’t afford Carlos Pena or Jason Bartlett. Do you really think they’re going to have a spare $300 million around to throw at Pujols?
2) Miami Marlins (by 2012 that will be their new name, in case you hadn’t heard). Yes, the Marlins are moving into a brand spanking new stadium next year, but this notoriously frugal franchise is not ready to jump into the Pujols fray. So, no, Pujols is not taking his talents to South Beach.
3) Pittsburgh Pirates. Do I really need to explain?
4) Cleveland Indians. Maybe 15 years ago, when Jacobs Field was selling out every night and the Indians were perennial contenders, they might have had a go. But the Indians have hit lean times. Way, way too rich for their blood.
5) Oakland A’s. Never under-estimate the creativity of Billy Beane, but not even he could pull this off while the A’s are casting about, so far unsuccessfully, for a new ballpark.
6) Minnesota Twins. They finally got their own new park, and they’re highly successful on the field, but big-time free agents is not how they roll. See Santana, Johan, et al.
7) Milwaukee Brewers. Bud Selig’s old team is not going to be the one that sets a new standard for off-the-charts spending.
8) Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-Backs had their day in the big-spending arena, but they seem to have checked out in recent years.
9) San Diego Padres. They couldn’t make the dollars work with Adrian Gonzalez, so they surely couldn’t make them work with Albert Pujols.
10) Seattle Mariners. Matthew over at Lookout Landing recently pondered the question of whether the Mariners should pursue Pujols if he hypothetically made it known that he’d like to sign with them if the offer was best. It was an interesting discussion, but no way the world do I see this team having the stomach for that kind of contract (the kind they didn’t give Alex Rodriguez), nor is there any way in the world I see Albert Pujols wanting to hitch his gold-plated wagon to the Mariners. Put 2 and 2 together, and I get “For sure, no way, no how.”