Friday, November 11, 2011

Where Pujols Goes

Post after post have been made seeming stymied at the thought of where Pujols will be going next season. But in actual fact it's really very simple. Taking a page from Dan at C70 and Bernie Miklasz, let's be explicit. There are several factors to consider. First, the obvious, money, position availability, winnability and legacy, and misc (e.g., location, teammates, history).

There's 30 teams in baseball--so let's eliminate them by groups to start.

-POSITION AVAILABILITY: Let's start with those who already have a big name 1B locked up on the roster even if they could afford him.
1. Nationals (LaRoche)
2. Red Sox (Youkilis/Gonzalez)
3. Reds (Votto)
4. Rockies (Helton)
5. Tigers (Cabrera)
6. Twins (Morneau)
7. White Sox (Konerko/Dunn)
8. Yankees (Teixeira)*
9. Giants (Huff)
10. Phillies (Howard)

-MONEY: Those who simply can't afford him.
11. Astros (whose new ownership has tightened the belt)
12. Athletics
13. Brewers
14. Diamondbacks
15. Dodgers (extreme financial hardship)
16. Mets (see Dodgers)
17. Orioles
18. Padres
19. Pirates
20. Rays
21. Braves (They could do it, but it would cripple the budget minded team).

BAM! Over 2/3rds of the teams are down.

-Winnability and Legacy: Pujols has said that he wants to play for a contender. Now, if we are even remotely optimistic that this means money isn't absolutely everything to Pujols, then we can eliminate teams that signing Pujols would probably weaken the overall team because of lack of depth at other positions. Furthermore, Pujols has the opportunity to build upon his legacy. If we assume he isn't completely aware of his potential he would want to put himself in a position to be as great as possible. This would eliminate several teams.

22. Royals (It's hilarious they aren't in the last category. But as Bernie pointed out they technically have the money to pull this off--Pujols would be close to home and as others have pointed out they have the farm to support. But it would still be a super long-shot and Pujols probably won't be tempted by that from a legacy stand-point.
23. Blue Jays (They could do it like the Royals and they have a higher ceiling money-wise, but they don't have the farm the Royals do.)
24. Indians (many people have dismissed them because of their super-low payroll. But look at the past few years--it has declined to an ultra-low rate--almost as if they've been preparing for a super-move like this. However, Pujols won't position himself in a place where he will go the way of Jayson Werth--mired as the one big name on a team with no chance).
25. Marlins (Pujols won't want to go to a place with a competitive method like the Marlins--it's legacy suicide. Don't believe me, what are the Marlins called? And after 9PM EST tonight? Yeah, see?).
26. Cubs (This would embitter him to so many it simply doesn't make sense. Sure, it's possible but with how things are simply not stable there at the moment I don't see it happening. Theo could want to make a big hit, but Pujols is particular about managers and whoever they get may not be workable for him. Furthermore, if he believes they aren't winners he might side-step that whole thing. Another thing, he's seen how they've treated the likes of Soriano and other big pay players who don't turn out well).
27. Mariners (if the offer was off the charts it might be too hard to pass up--but it would have to be significantly more than other suitors' bids. The Mariners have more pieces than other teams, but location-wise it is not preferable, it's a pitcher's park, and the Mariner's are pretty much division cellar-dwellers).
28. Rangers (they could make room, they have the payroll, and Pujols perhaps would want to play in conservative Texas alongside like-minded Josh Hamilton. However, they could have been placed into the "don't need a 1b" category with the guys they have that can play that position. However, with the dh you never know. Yet, what they NEED is pitching)

-Contenders--These are the only teams that have any real chance.

-Angels--Winners, have $, have a great manager, but are West Coast.

*-Yanks--They are always in the running. With the dh, who knows, less likely with Teix but I wouldn't rule them out completely

-Cards--Legacy, winnability (less likely the bigger his contract is), beloved by fans, his home is there, manager will probably be someone he knows and who knows him.

In the end the Angels have the upperhand when it comes to money (and maybe a slight edge in long term winnability--but not short term). But that's it! Every other factor says to stay. Unless the Angels can make the most epic of offers, this is a no decision for both Pujols and Cards management. The amount of money he'll bring in while breaking records in the long-term may actually overcome many of the short comings should the end of his contract become an albatross. If you pay him, they will come. (BTW To compare this to Joe Mauer is laughable.)

I fully expect Pujols to be a Cardinal for the remainder of his career and I expect it to be to the tune of $225M for 10 years.


P.S. Lesson for the day: don't do a post in the middle of the night halfway, save it, and then try to finish it up the next. Thanks to Ryan at for picking up the slack and catching my many errors.

No comments: