Cubs TO PASS ON PUJOLS: There are questions about whether the Cubs can even afford to go after Albert Pujols, but the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer speculates that Pujols' wrist injury could keep the Cubs from even entering the sweepstakes for the three-time MVP.
Although Pujols has been incredibly durable throughout his career, the injury he suffered Sunday could send red flags to teams considering the long-term investment that Pujols will require. Pujols will likely be looking for the security of a long deal, one that could be the final contract of his career. With concerns about his health, the Ricketts family may just have the excuse they were looking for as to why the Cubs can't lure Pujols from St. Louis.
It could also be nothing; it could be a blip on Pujols' career -- but at this age, you have to consider how long you can be saddled with a declining player. The Cubs have been hamstrung by contracts in the past (see Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Milton Bradley) and a decline triggered by injuries and aided by age can even happen to the game's best players (Ken Griffey Jr.).
There'll still be a market for Pujols after the season, that's for sure. But it'll be interesting to see what kind of markdown there will be following Sunday's injury.
Either way, the injury may hurt the Cardinals in the short term but help keep Pujols in St. Louis for the rest of his career.
M'S LEADER: In St. Louis, Brendan Ryan's energy and personality was seen as an annoyance to Tony La Russa. In Seattle, it's a positive, as the shortstop has emerged as a team leader for the surprising Mariners. [Seattle Times]
HOLD FOR FULD: And yet another chapter in the legend of Sam Fuld. While Fuld's numbers have dropped from his hot start, he helped out the Rays in another way Monday -- on the mound. Really, Fuld warming up for the eighth inning isn't as much a testament to Fuld as it is manager Joe Maddon. The Rays needed more time to warm up lefty Cesar Ramos and since Fuld had already entered the game in the pitcher's spot, he didn't have to throw a pitch in the eighth but did take up enough time to allow Ramos to get ready to pitch. [St. Petersburg Times]
NEXT PROSPECT UP: 'Tis the season for prospect call-ups, and the next one may be the Pirates' Alex Presley, the team's 2010 Minor Leaguer Player of the Year who's hitting .332/.382/.506 with eight home runs in Triple-A. Pirates GM Neal Huntington said if the Pirates weren't in the stretch of games in American League parks, Presley would already be with the big club. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
PASSING OVERBAY: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said first baseman Lyle Overbay won't start during the team's series with the Orioles to work on his hitting. Garrett Jones started at first in Overbay's place Monday. Overbay is 4-for-30 in his last 11 games, dropping his season line to .228/.307/.353. Hurdle said Overbay may still be used to pinch-hit or as part of a double switch, but Jones will start the next two games. [MLB.com]
NL CATCHES A BREAK: While the National League gets pounded by the American League in interleague play, the senior circuit may catch a break in the All-Star Game. The way the Tigers' rotation shakes out, Justin Verlander would pitch on the Sunday before the July 12 game in Phoenix, making him ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game two days later. [MLB.com]
INSIDE THE BASEBALL STUDIO: In one of the great, "I wish I would have thought of that" features of recent years, Patrick Cain of FanGraphs.com asks baseball players actual questions from James Lipton on Inside the Actor's Studio. His first one is with Reds starter Bronson Arroyo -- I will say, it'll be interesting to see how many guys go along with this. Bronson's one of those who will answer any question -- and give you great answers. Anyway, bravo Patrick, bravo.
JOEY BALLGAME?: Had the Reds not taken Joey Votto in the second round of the 2002 draft, the Yankees were ready to snap up the reigning National League MVP. Former Yankee scout Dick Groch was in Votto's living room on draft day waiting for the Yankees to take him. It wasn't quite that close, though (not like, say, the Reds skipping Derek Jeter to take Chad Mottola in 1992), as the Reds selected Votto with the 44th overall pick. The Yankees didn't have a pick until 71 after losing their first-round pick by signing Jason Giambi as a free agent in 2001. So, even if the Reds had passed on Votto, we might be saying the same thing about whatever team picked him up between picks 45 and 70. [ESPNNewYork]RAYS WOES: There was some positive baseball attendance news from this past weekend, but it wasn't coming from Tampa Bay. The Rays are second-to-last in attendance, yet have the most affordable tickets in professional sports, according to an ESPN the Magazine. [Tampa Tribune]
COFFEY RUN: Nationals reliever Todd Coffey has sprinted in from the bullpen his entire career. At the Nationals' annual Dream Foundation gala on Saturday night, Coffey made his entrance at a full-on sprint -- in a tuxedo. [Washington Post]
RICKEY A LINK TO THE A'S PAST: Rickey Henderson is working as a roving instructor in the Oakland minor league system. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy remembers how beloved an older Rickey was in San Diego, while the San Francisco Chronicle's Gwynn Knapp says Rickey is a link to the team's successful past. Rickey being Rickey can't but help Rickie's brother, Jemile Weeks, and the rest of the A's.
Mets MESS: The Mets owners fired back at Irving Picard, the trustee overseeing the Bernie Madoff bankruptcy case, in their motion to dismiss the $1 billion lawsuit filed against them. [New York Daily News]
CANADIAN HALL: One of my all-time favorite baseball cards was the Topps Tom Henke All-Star card from 1988. I'm not sure why it always amused me so much, but I'm sure it had to do with the glasses. Still, the glasses often overshadowed one of the best pitchers of the 80s. Henke was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this past weekend. [National Post]For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.