Where will Albert Pujols be calling home in 2012?

February 21, 2011

He's going nowhere

Peter Schmuck

Baltimore Sun

Stand by for months of Albert angst in St. Louis and rampant free agent speculation in each of Major League Baseball's large-market cities ... and it will all be much ado about nothing.

If he isn't a Cardinal in 2012, my three well-regarded Tribune Co. colleagues, I will come over and wax your cars.

The Cardinals will keep him if they have to tie him to a chair and bring in a cult deprogrammer to turn him against his agent, but that probably won't be necessary. He knows the value of staying with one team for his entire career and the Cardinals know he's worth almost whatever they have to pay to keep him.

Frankly, I don't even believe Pujols and the team will honor their agreement to suspend negotiations until after the season. The compromise will be nine years for $253 million. How's that for being specific?


He'll be headed East

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

Albert Pujols' professional stance suggests he's still hoping to stay in St. Louis, but the math simply doesn't work. A team in baseball's fourth smallest market can't pay market value for its best player and put a good team around him.

Despite talk about the Cubs and the exotic destination of Kansas City, I still see him with one of baseball's two heaviest spenders – the Red Sox or Yankees. He's not as blocked by Adrian Gonzalez and Mark Teixeira as you'd think, not with the DH spot as a possibility.

Nothing the Ricketts' ownership group has done makes me think the Cubs want to play at the big-money table. I'll call it Yankees, who will be looking for the most impactful move possible if CC Sabathia opts out.


Look out for Nationals

Bill Shaikin

Los Angeles Times

The best bet probably remains St. Louis, once Pujols has a chance to test the market and the Cardinals have the chance to up their bid. He is not thirsting to leave, and the Cardinals are well aware there is no replacing him.

You never can rule out the Yankees or Red Sox, although we're betting Pujols is too proud to DH behind Mark Teixeira or Adrian Gonzalez. The Yankees' pitching is so shallow and their wallet so deep that they could sign Pujols and swallow some of Teixiera's salary in trading him for a pitcher, but Teixeira's agent might ask for some inducement for his client.

If Pujols really is out to get a record-setting deal — and he already has a championship ring, remember — watch out for the Nationals, who have money to spend. They were the high bidders for Teixeira, and they blew away other teams by signing Jayson Werth for $126 million.


Pressure's on – Pujols

Keith Groller

The Morning Call

St. Louis is still the frontrunner as Albert Pujols' home address for 2012, although the Cardinals have put only a half-hearted effort into securing their superstar so far. If it's true the Cardinals "only" offered him between $19 million and $23 million per season, you wonder if they felt any urgency in getting this done.

Ownership seems content to see how 2011 plays out. Pujols has shown some wear and tear, and while his seasonal numbers remain superb, he doesn't qualify as Mr. October, or even Mr. September. St. Louis hasn't won a postseason game since the 2006 World Series.

So the pressure is on Pujols to deliver another set of eye-popping numbers to justify the A-Rod type deal he seeks. It'll be interesting to see if he can handle the daily scrutiny he'd receive in New York every day of the rest of his career.


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