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: Jan 17, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:04 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Pujols, even if Fielder is younger. He has a better bat, and can play outfield. Prince waddles like a duck, and can hit only because of his hips. His hands are shrubs.

Since: Sep 28, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 5:53 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Cards just as good WITHOUT  Albert Pujols??  That is the immortal words of Mike Tyson..."ludicrous".  If they Move "the big Puma" to first...who takes over in the outfield??  No way you can say one team will be better without one of the best players  EVER in my opinion.  NO WAY!!

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 5:48 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

What does weight have to do with playing 1st base exactly? The NFL should be a perfect example of how weight doesn't define athletic limitations -- see Vince Wilfork. Baseball players don't need speed to play the infield. All you need are reflexes, footwork, flexibility, and dig balls out of the dirt. You don't have to be slim or in great shape. Another thing with weight, it can be lost. So at the end of the day, give me the guy that's younger, cheaper, and doesn't have a glaring decline in production. 

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 5:46 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Pujols is a pain in the clubhouse.  Special rules. Doesn't sign autographs.  Employees are not allowed to talk to him.  Likes to create circles around him and is resented by fellow teammates.  He never runs full speed on infield outs.  While considered one of the all-time greats during his first 11 years, the past two have been slowed by nagging injuries and his strike zone has expanded despite more protection in the line-up.  I would say he has three to four more years of good to great production and will continue to decline over this period.  Since we all know he is really 35 or 36, do we really expect him to play beyond five?

Fielder maybe fat but weight can be lost. Age can't.  Fielder in a heartbeat.  

Since: Jan 17, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 5:38 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Pujols no questions asked.

Since: Jun 22, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 5:38 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Seriously?  More fans choose Fielder?  That's absolute lunacy.  He is not aptly named, as fielding is not his strong suit.  For the writer to call Pujols an "above average" fielder is both ignorant and insulting.  The guy has won two Gold Gloves.  That's a little better than above average, IMO.  Prince probably wasn't the best fielding 1B on his high school team, much less the NL.  Yes, Prince is younger, but one look at that physique should tip anyone off as to the likelihood of longeivity. 

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 5:22 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

dumbest ? ever...

Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 5:08 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Sorry, but this is unfair to Fielder.  No one would rather have Fielder over Pujols even with Pujols being a few years older.  Fact is that Pujols is a big man, Fielder is a smaller, fat man.  It is still more likely that Fielder will decline or physically break down before Pujols just because his body is carrying so much weight that it's really not designed to carry.  Feet, ankles, knees, hips.  Watch those areas on Fielder.  I doubt he'll be in MLB in 9 years let alone producing at a rate to justify that contract.  

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: January 24, 2012 5:06 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

Pujols is older but he doesn't have weight issues and he can play defense, as he showed during the post-season with a great throw to third on a play where most guys would have taken the easy out. Fielder isn't as mobile so he would do better as DH, which both can now do on their new AL teams.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:49 pm

Would You Rather Have: Pujols or Fielder?

 Let's get real here, Pujols is a few years older, but he keeps himself in tip top shape (like any pro athlete should when you make that kinda dough) Fielder is obviously pretty lazy and undisciplined relying on natural ability. I would take Pujols in a heartbeat. Making all that money and you can't commit to a healthy lifestyle? Gimme a break. He's only 27, but I can't see him making it even halfway through his contract.

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