Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:25 pm

By Matt Snyder

Two superstar first basemen helped lead NL Central teams into the playoffs in 2011. In 2012, each will be playing in the American League.

Albert Pujols signed a whopping 10-year, $254 million contract to leave St. Louis and head to the Angels. Several weeks later (today), Prince Fielder accepted a nine-year, $214 million deal to join the Detroit Tigers.

We long had this matchup slated to run at some point in this Would You Rather Have series, but wanted to hold off until the dollar figures were known. Obviously if Fielder signed for half what Pujols did -- especially being younger -- he'd be the choice. But we now have contracts that are essentially apples to apples, as they're close enough in average annual value. 

Would You Rather Have
The case for Pujols

Ever since Barry Bonds retired, Pujols has been either the consensus best player in baseball or the runner-up (at times Alex Rodriguez was considered superior). Pujols has won three MVPs and finished in the top 10 of MVP voting every single season of his career -- and the top five all but one time. He already has 445 home runs and sports an absurd 1.037 career OPS (170 OPS-plus).

On top of all the considerable damage Pujols can do with his bat, he's a well-rounded player. He's widely regarded as an exceptional baserunner and an above average defender. He's certainly a much better defender than Fielder, so leave the puns alone.

Pujols also doesn't have the weight concerns many attach to Fielder.

The case for Fielder

He's no slouch with the bat himself. In only six full seasons -- and change -- Fielder has 230 homers and a .929 OPS. Last season he hit 38 home runs and drove home 120. For the third consecutive season, Fielder drew more than 100 walks, too, so his plate discipline can rival that of Pujols. And Fielder does have three top-four finishes in MVP voting in the past five seasons.

Despite concerns about weight, Fielder trumps Pujols in the durability category. Prince has only missed one game in the past three seasons combined. In his six full seasons, Fielder has averaged 160 games played. And that's a segue to the age issue.

Prince Fielder is only 27 -- he'll turn 28 this May. Albert Pujols just turned 32. And Pujols' contract is one year longer.

So, obviously Pujols would have been the choice for this past decade, but what about the decade to come?

Our call

I'm sticking with Pujols in a ridiculously difficult choice. Each player probably switches to designated hitter around the same time and I'll take Pujols' defense as the separation point in the next few years.

Fan Vote:

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Since: Feb 22, 2011
Posted on: January 25, 2012 9:51 am

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Prince is going to be a monster in Detroit, and will be for years to come. Pujols is about to start breaking down. They both are going to be mostly DH over next 7 - 8 years, so defense does not really matter.
The real question is who will be missed more by their old teams?

Since: Jul 11, 2010
Posted on: January 25, 2012 6:18 am

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Everyone better be seriously happy Victor got hurt or Tigers would be such huge favorites to win the American League it wouldn be fair. I cant believe they signed him. Cabrera better lose that weight for 3rd base tho. This year of course id take Albert but if I look at the ages and the contracts Prince is the better deal no doubt. We arent even for sure Alberts age.

Since: Jun 25, 2007
Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:26 am

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Nobody fears or pitches around the free swinging Fielder. Big looping swing. Pujols will make the other Angels deadly clogging up the middle of that line-up.

Since: May 11, 2009
Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:21 am

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Would I rather have a 32 year old Pujols for 10 years or a 27 year old Fielder for 9 years?? It's close..but Pujols would be my choice. The guy is ridiculous. Could you imagine Cabrera AND Pujols in the same lineup? Those are CLEARLY the two best pure hitters in the game right now. That would have been a dream. Not just that..Pujols' defense is better.

What makes it close for me is the age difference. Fielder will only be 36 when his contract is up...Pujols will be 42. FOURTY TWO. Also the lefty bat of Prince in my Tigers lineup is another pro Prince has over Pujols. It is just hard to pick Prince over I choose Albert. 

Since: Jan 9, 2012
Posted on: January 25, 2012 12:09 am

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Being a lifelong Brewer fan, I've watched every game Prince has played.  Given the amount of NL Central matchups I've seen between the Brewers and Cardinals, how could anyone choose Fielder?  I cannot count the number of game winning hits/HR's or defensive gems that Pujols would pull out on a routine basis.  Fielder will never win a gold glove or batting title...Pujols has done both several times.

Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:30 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Slow news day when the feature article is a "Would you rather..."

Since: Apr 6, 2007
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:29 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

This is even a discussion?  Arguably one of the best to ever play the game vs. a guy who could only play 1st base because the NL has no DH.  What statistical category does Fielder lead in...weight?

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:28 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

neither one this year. i believe that  quit a few playrs will have better year the either of them. not even stars can have  very good year every year. even tho on paper it seems detroit will win it all. it is probable that something will happen to throw them off a little bit. a team cannothave good luck every year. a player gets hurt, a star gets a bad attitude. a closer has a bad year. as a team they dont hit in the clutch. 

Since: Apr 29, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 11:25 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Hands down - Pujols.  As a Cubs fan, it's tough to pick a (formerly) Cardinal - but there it is.  Pujols has a better attitude than Fielder.

Since: Oct 13, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:38 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

How I think you are horrible...first off Pujols is the 1st or 2nd best player in all of baseball thats not a pitcher, Cabrerra is 1st or 2nd best as well and Fielder is the 3rd guy...they are all worth every penny they get when.  The Tigers now can put Fielder at 1st and move Cabrerra to 3rd and drop Inge like a bad about a hitting team in Detroit. 

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