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Tag:Albert Pujols
Posted on: November 12, 2011 10:17 pm
 

Cardinals won't up offer to Pujols

Pujols

By Evan Brunell


The St. Louis Cardinals don't intend to up their spring-training offer to Albert Pujols anytime soon, SI.com's Jon Heyman reports.

In spring training, the Cardinals made an offer in which Pujols would have re-upped for about nine years and $210 million. Pujols rejected the offer and closed negotiations, and there was speculation that Pujols was not particularly happy with the organization. But this isn't really a surprise. That offer is still extremely competitive, with a $23.3 million annual salary that stretches across nine years. That's a very long investment for a baseball player.

Right now, only the Marlins are thought to be the other team with an offer out to Pujols. While it may well be competitive, that's not known just yet. Either way, whatever Miami submits likely will not be significantly more than St. Louis' offer. Until there are more details, more teams enter the fray and talks advance a bit deeper, there is no rush for the Cardinals to up their deal. When it comes time, though, it's difficult to imagine St. Louis not increasing their offer.

The Cardinals also made other news Saturday when GM John Mozeliak said he has Daniel Descalso projected to be the starting second baseman next season, as he tells Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

If so, this means that Skip Schumaker's time with St. Louis may be drawing to a close. Schumaker is not a particularly good defender at second base, having come up through the organization as an outfielder, debuting in 2005 and then making the switch for 2009. However, his offense has tailed off dramatically the last two seasons, and with a rising salary, Schumaker is expendable. The 25-year-old Descalso got a ton of playing time this past season, eating up a lot of time at third base when David Freese was injured.

Descalso hit .264/.334/.353, which is as good as Schumaker did and comes with a better glove and cheaper salary. Really, it's a no-brainer to non-tender Schumaker no matter what and go with Descalso if you don't find an upgrade in free agency or the trade market. Mozeliak also said he would be comfortable with Tyler Greene at shortstop, assuming they don't address their shortstop hole via other avenues. Greene is best used as a backup, and it's tough to see the Cardinals leaving short alone. But Descalso gives Mozeliak the ability to worry about other positions, knowing he will be a capable second baseman if they need him come Opening Day.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 12, 2011 9:11 am
 

Angels won't join bidding for Fielder, Pujols

Jerry DipotoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

While owner Arte Moreno's deep pockets and the rich California market make the Angels a perceived potential landing spot for any high-priced free agent, new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Friday that he probably wouldn't pursue either of the two biggest names on the free agent market, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols.

"You have to be open to the possibility, but it's not something we're going to aggressively pursue," Dipoto told reporters, including the Los Angeles Times. "I don't think you're going to get a financial bargain swimming in that pool."

That pool is already $120 million deep for 2012, including the sucking vortex that is $48 million for Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu. Moreno has reportedly capped the team's spending for 2012 at $140 million.

"Right now, it creates confinement, but it doesn't necessarily have to say that way," Dipoto said. "That's where you can be creative in building a 25-man roster, by not including all 25 guys who are on it today."

Dipoto did acknowledge the team had contracted the agents for top free agent starter C.J. Wilson

However, Dipoto said he'd prefer to explore the trade market than sign free agents.

"A complete overhaul isn't necessary," Dipoto said. "There are tweaks to make, holes to fill. We'll exhaust all possibilities."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 11, 2011 11:31 pm
 

Loria confirms offers to Pujols, Reyes, Buehrle

Jeffrey LoriaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

If Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has his way, he'll have some new names to put in the team's new uniforms.

After Friday's unveiling of their new uniforms, Loria confirmed that the Marlins have extended offers to free agents Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle.

"We're looking at everyone," Loria told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. "We want to make this team as special as we can and we would be foolish not to entertain the possibilities of some of these players. It's just one of those things that mean you're going forward. We've had our hands tied for a long time. With this new stadium we want to step into a new light."

Loria wouldn't give specifics, but said the Marlins are "being very aggressive."

Asked specifically about the meeting with Pujols on Friday, Loria said it went well.

"He's terrific. I can only tell you he loved the stadium," Loria said. "He liked being here. He loves the flavor of Miami as I do and everybody else here does. And we are hopeful that some of these deals will happen."

There have been reports that the Marlins could afford to sign all three free agents.

"There are absolutely no limits to try and see what can be done," Loria said.

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 10:43 am
 

What if ... the Cardinals let Pujols walk?

By Matt Snyder

Let's not go crazy about the headline before realizing it's still a longshot that Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols signs elsewhere. Personally, I'd be shocked if he signed with anyone else. Most of the major markets are unable to come through with a huge bid. The Cubs might be able to, but we don't know if the new brain trust wants to take that path immediately (my guess is they don't). The Marlins are meeting with Pujols Friday, but could they afford him? It's doubtful they could come close to paying what St. Louis could. Can the allure of taking his talents to South Beach trump the loyalty, familiarity and dollars of St. Louis? Tough call, but only Pujols could answer that.

Still, let's just imagine a scenario where the Cardinals looked at the price tag internally and thought it best to outwardly appear as if they've done everything they could -- to appease the fans -- but still let Pujols walk via free agency. Obviously losing the best player in baseball would hurt the Cardinals, but I don't think it would be a death blow.

Let's check out what could be done with the money available, should Pujols sign elsewhere.

First of all, Jose Reyes could be signed to play shortstop. The leadoff spot was a bigger problem for the Cardinals than the middle of the order in 2011 (since-retired manager Tony La Russa had to use Ryan Theriot at leadoff in Game 7 of the World Series). Throw money at Reyes and the problem is solved. Plus, with Theriot, Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso, there's plenty of infield depth to play with when Reyes serves a few stints on the DL. Jimmy Rollins could be a fall-back option. Next, Mark Buehrle could be signed. Remember, he grew up a Cardinals fan and has expressed interest in pitching for St. Louis in the past.

That means the Cardinals best lineup would be something like this:

1. Jose Reyes (or Rollins), SS
2. Allen Craig, RF
3. Matt Holliday, LF
4. Lance Berkman, 1B
5. David Freese, 3B
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Jon Jay, CF
8. Punto/Theriot/Schumaker/Descalso, 2B

The starting rotation now includes a fully recovered Adam Wainwright, so it looks like this:

1. Adam Wainwright
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Mark Buehrle
4. Jaime Garcia
5. Kyle Lohse

Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn and top prospect Shelby Miller are available in case of injury. And the bullpen is largely the same as it was toward the end of last season, with Jason Motte now getting a full season as closer.

I tell you what, that's a pretty damn good team. Sure, there are questions, like how are Freese and Craig going to hit over the course of a 162-game season as regulars? In moving Berkman to first and starting Craig, the bench loses a valuable bat, too. Age has to be a concern with Berkman and Carpenter. And of course, how does everyone respond without La Russa? Overall, though, there isn't much to dislike about that hypothetical team.

Considering what Pujols' salary might do to the ballclub if he's making $25 million or more eight years from now -- he'll turn 32 in January -- maybe it wouldn't be so bad for St. Louis if he did leave. It's certainly worth considering (again, internally, as to not alienate Pujols himself or any of the fans). I'd at least talk about it, and I'm guessing the front office has done so as well.

To reiterate, I don't think Pujols is going anywhere, but we're smack-dab in the time of the year that hypotheticals are the most fun.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 10, 2011 10:19 pm
 

Marlins see Cespedes, set to host Pujols

Pujols

By Evan Brunell


The Marlins continue to be big movers and shakers in baseball's hot stove, attending a private workout for Cuban star Yoennis Cespedes and making plans for Albert Pujols (pictured) to come to Miami sometime in the next few days.

But with newfound money and a desire to spend it, also comes controversy. Hanley Ramirez addressed rumors that the Marlins were after Jose Reyes, telling the Palm Beach Post that "“I’m a shortstop."

The Marlins' visit to visit Cespedes was to decide if the 26-year-old was ready for the majors. Among the positions Florida -- which will officially change its name to Miami on Friday -- is thought to be seeking an upgrade in is center field. That's the position Cespedes plays, although many feel as if he will need seasoning in the minors. Cespedes was a star in Cuba, but the talent of that league is of the Class A variety.

“We had our top baseball people there,” Samson told the Palm Beach Post. “They were certainly impressed with his ability, He’s got to tools. He’s certainly an impressive player.”

The Marlins will have to contend with the Yankees, among other teams, for Cespedes' services. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler earlier today reported he could beat Aroldis Chapman's deal, which was for six years and $30.5 million. The Marlins are poised to be a big player in free agency, but can they withstand the Yankees' advances?

“We think we’re a great fit because we are Miami. We are a natural destination for any Latin player,” Samson said. “I think that he agrees but we have to see if we can make a deal that makes sense for both parties.”

Meanwhile, Samson, along with baseball operationss president Larry Beinfest and general manager Mike Hill, who all attended Cespedes' workout, now turn their eyes to Albert Pujols. MLB.com reports that Pujols is slated to meet with the Marlins as early as Saturday. It still seems like a long shot for Pujols to sign, but without a clear suitor for Pujols, anything is possible. The team has already hosted Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes.

Hanley Ramirez is one guy feeling a little slighted by the Marlins' pursuit of Reyes, as it could knock him out of the shortstop role. However, he also praised Florida for trying to acquire Reyes.

"I think it would be a good move for the Marlins because they want to improve our offense and he’s a pretty good player and this organization needs him," he told the Post. "But otherwise, what can I say. I cannot control that. What I can control is to just get ready for the season and opening day. We have to build a winning team.”

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 10:34 am
 

Rangers 'could' go after Pujols or Fielder

By Matt Snyder

The Texas Rangers were twice within a strike of winning the 2011 World Series and most of the team is going to remain intact for next season, so they're pretty well set up. Still, it's folly for any team to simply stand pat and expect to be in the exact same position next season. So the Rangers are working on starting pitching -- we'll get to that in a second -- but an MLB.com article raised my eyebrows a bit, specifically this line:

"Sources acknowledge they are peeking at other things, and that might even include a nudge in the direction of free-agent first basemen Albert Pujols and/or Prince Fielder."

Now, let's not go crazy, especially with words like "peeking," "nudge" and "might" in there. The Rangers need pitching more than offense and still have the Mike Napoli (when Yorvit Torrealba catches), Michael Young, Mitch Moreland triumvirate that they can use at first. How much the Rangers can afford to increase payroll would also be a question. The article notes pitching is still the top priority, too.

Hot Stove Season
On the flip side, obviously Pujols or Fielder would be a major upgrade and the offense would be downright terrifying when Napoli caught, Young DH'd and either Pujols or Fielder was manning first. Either of the big name free agents would mark a defensive upgrade over Young or Napoli, especially if it was Pujols, a superb defensive first baseman. A big plus on the Rangers' chances here is that many of the large market teams won't be in on the sweepstakes for Pujols or Fielder. The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are set at first long-term. The Angels, Mets and Dodgers all have money issues of different varieties. The White Sox probably can't spend more and already have Paul Konerko. Who knows what direction the Cubs take? So it's possible the Rangers could sneak in and snag one of these big boppers with some of the extra revenue two consecutive World Series appearances has created.

To reiterate, though, it still feels like a longshot and pitching is the top priority for the Rangers. On that front, the Rangers are reportedly speaking with C.J. Wilson on bringing him back, in addition to having "at least some interest" in free agents Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt and Edwin Jackson. Moving closer Neftali Feliz into the rotation and pursuing a free-agent closer is also possible, with the article noting the Rangers have at least some interest in Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez and a few others (MLB.com).

It's still really early in the offseason. All of this could happen or none of it could, but it doesn't make it any less fun to play around with possible scenarios.

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Predicting where baseball free agents will sign

Free agents

By Evan Brunell


This winter's free agent crop bolstered by some elite players hitting the market, led by Albert Pujols, who will hold the mantle of being the best player of the 21st century for quite some time. Where he ends up has been one of baseball's burning questions for two years, and the answer is finally here... and if my psychic chops are up to par, I have him returning to St. Louis.

As many as four contracts totaling $100 million could be handed out with Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson all vying for the honor. (Five if you include CC Sabathia extending with New York for $122 million). For comparison, last winter saw three players score at least $100 million in their new deals -- Carl Crawford, Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth.

Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Beltran, Heath Bell, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson and Mark Buehrle round out the list of 10 predictions. Hang onto your hats, because there are a couple interesting destinations I have players ending up in. If you can't get enough free-agent news, check out the predictions by all CBSSports.com experts. Or how about the free-agent tracker?

Let's get to it.

Free Agency Predictions
Player Prediction
1B Albert Pujols Cardinals
It's just too difficult to see Pujols leaving the Cardinals, and it doesn't work in his favor that many teams that could have paid for his services are all set at first base. Given the increasing likelihood that Pujols won't match Alex Rodriguez's record contract of 10 years and $275 million, it will put him squarely in St. Louis' price range, but the club has to be ready to boost its offer. If the Cards dig in and aren't willing to compromise, he will leave town. Skipper Tony La Russa retiring does throw a wrench into things, but in the end, why would Pujols leave a place he is beloved and knows he will win?
Three other possibles: Cubs, Nationals, Rangers
1B Prince Fielder Mariners
The Mariners have money -- they just haven't had an impetus to spend it just yet. But with a rapidly improving rotation, the M's are not far off from contention and can build around Fielder and second baseman Dustin Ackley, as well as Justin Smoak (they hope). Seattle's offense has been so horribly bad the last two years they really can't afford not to go after a big thumper that can change the complexion of the lineup. Having the DH works in Seattle's favor too, as they have a place to play him in the future, if and when he becomes even more of a liability on D. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik was the one to draft and develop Fielder in Milwaukee, but has yet to really play in the free agent market since taking over the team.
Three other possibles: Orioles, Brewers, Nationals
SS Jose Reyes Giants
The Giants need a hitter and can withstand the loss of Carlos Beltran in the outfield, so expect the team to focus on a position of dire need by signing Reyes. The club has pretty much zero shortstop depth, which was exposed last year with a decrepit Miguel Tejada falling out of favor and the club cycling through shortstops the rest of the way. Reyes would be a dynamo for the Giants and would give the club the perfect leadoff man. The club has never been one to worry about losing a draft pick as compensation, and could actually work in their favor by giving them more money to allocate to Reyes.
Three other possibles: Mets, Giants, Nationals
SP C.J. Wilson Royals
Wilson is a solid pitcher, but he's a bit overrated. Teams trying to get over the hump and contend again will overlook his deficiencies to make a statement, and Kansas City is motivated to find a major-league starting pitcher that can top the rotation and bring the youngsters along. The Royals will have money to spend and can also entice Wilson by showing him how the team is on the rise, and how his signing will allow them to trade some minor-league pitchers for major-league help. He should land an A.J. Burnett/John Lackey-type deal of five years and north of $80 million.
Three other possibles: Nationals, Angels, Yankees
CL Jonathan Papelbon Papelbon
The Red Sox can't afford to let Papelbon go, not after having one of his best seasons to date. There are reports that Papelbon started emerging as a leader in 2011, which Boston obviously needs following the wake of clubhouse issues last season. In addition, retaining Papelbon allows Boston to keep Daniel Bard in his setup role where he is more valuable than he would be as a closer. Papelbon will be looking for lots of money, but will be well within Boston's price range. The club has enough issues to deal with without worrying about having to fill the closer's spot, which is one of heavy responsibility -- something Papelbon craves.
Three other possibles: Rangers, Phillies, Blue Jays
RF Carlos Beltran
Marlins
The Marlins have money to spend and will be looking to make a splash heading into their new stadium. Beltran would be a popular name, especially given he is a native Puerto Rican, which the Marlins have tried to cultivate as a fan base (and have held regular-season games in Puerto Rico). There isn't any space currently in the Marlins outfield, but nothing that can't change to accommodate Beltran. Despite Beltran's advanced age, he would fit nicely in the order on a team expected to contend.
Three other possibles: Giants, Red Sox, Pirates
CL Heath Bell
Phillies
I was tempted and go rogue here, tabbing the Phillies. I do believe that Philadelphia would love Bell to be its next closer, especially if Ryan Madson doesn't return. But I can't ignore the fact that Bell would be willing to accept arbitration to stay with the Padres, which would lock him to San Diego for just one season. The small-market Pads would love having that flexibility of an elite closer under contract for just one year. Despite Bell wanting a three-year deal, the mere fact he would accept arbitration -- and said so publicly -- means that a deal will happen between both sides.
Three other possibles: Phillies, Dodgers, Twins
SS Jimmy Rollins
Phillies
Rollins probably won't get the five-year deal he thinks he deserves, but Philadelphia can't afford to mess around here. Rollins is very popular in town and while his MVP days are behind him, he is still a very good shortstop. The Phillies could be in serious trouble if Reyes and Rollins sign elsewhere, as the club has very poor infield depth. Not getting Rollins back (or Reyes as a fallback) would force the team into making a trade for a shortstop, and this is a club that needs to start hanging onto its minor-league talent. With an entire infield in flux, it makes no sense for Philadelphia to compromise what depth they have in prospect Freddy Galvis, who is 21 and looks to need at least another full year in the minors.
Three other possibles: Giants, Brewers, Mariners
Buerhle SP Mark Buehrle Yankees
The White Sox are "letting the kids play" in 2012, but that doesn't necessarily signal a rebuilding. There is enough talent on the squad that, if things break right, could leave Chicago in contention. Any deal would likely be predicated on what Chicago does with Carlos Quentin and John Danks, the two prime pieces that could be traded. Buerhle's loyalty factors in here too -- he wants to either be a White Sox or pitch for his hometown Cards. But if St. Louis resigns Pujols and closes its checkbook and the White Sox raze the team, he'll have to seek employment elsewhere. The guess here is Buerhle comes back, even if a ring isn't likely.
Three other possibles: Yankees, Cardinals, Marlins
CL Ryan Madson Blue Jays
The Blue Jays need a closer and are an up-and-coming team. Their market is large, and that club can eventually support a payroll north of $100 million. While Toronto is better off keeping much of its finances in its back pocket until a better free-agent class, Madson makes too much sense for the Jays to pass up. His market will be depressed thanks to the amount of closers available in free agency, plus the fact he doesn't have a history of closing beyond 2011. The Jays will want a young closer, and Madson will fit the bill as one of the youngest available -- he's the same age as Papelbon, but will come at a lesser price.
Three other possibles: Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 1:49 pm
 

2012 CBSSports.com free agent predictions

By Evan Brunell

Which free agents will end up where?

That's the burning question facing the CBSSports.com experts, who have submitted predictions for where some top free agents on the market will go.

Eye on Baseball's Evan Brunell further explains his predictions here, while Larry Dobrow thinks that Prince Fielder will stay in the NL Central, but move a bit south and join Theo Epstein in Chicago. Meanwhile, Gregg Doyel cheekily predicts New York and Boston will open up their wallets and dominate the market. One question, Gregg: With Derek Jeter, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins all Yankees, where do they play!?

2012 Free Agency
Position rankings
Resident baseball columnists Danny Knobler and Scott Miller agree that Pujols will return to St. Louis and Rollins to Philadelphia, but past that it's a free-for-all. The biggest surprises? Knobler has Jose Reyes joining the Tigers, presumably shoving Jhonny Peralta to third. Scott Miller likes Reyes to the Giants, while calling for Carlos Beltran to join the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yes, really. Knobler, on the other hand, tabs Beltran to the Marlins.

Eye on Baseball's C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder have their own surprise picks. For one, Rosecrans has Albert Pujols to the Marlins. Can you imagine? Snyder, meanwhile, is the only person to predict a shortstop heading to Seattle with Rollins apparently headed northwest. Brunell was the only other person to believe Seattle will play in the free-agent market, as Fielder heads to Seattle in his predictions.

Speaking of Fielder, no one could agree on his landing spot. He could be headed virtually anywhere in the United States. It will be a major surprise if he doesn't land at one of the places projected, but with Fielder, anything goes. The person with the biggest consensus as to his destination is closer Jonathan Papelbon, with five of seven experts predicting he'll return to Boston.

Oh, and that guy named Pujols? Most see him back in St. Louis.

2012 MLB free agent predictions
  Evan
Brunell
Larry
Dobrow
Gregg
Doyel
Danny
Knobler
Scott
Miller
C. Trent
Rosecrans
Matt
Snyder
Albert Pujols
Prince Fielder
Jose Reyes
C.J. Wilson
Jonathan Papelbon
Carlos Beltran
Heath Bell
Jimmy Rollins
Ryan Madson
Mark Buehrle

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com