To take a step down a road I don't want to travel...
The New England Sports Network reports that the Red Sox are likely to be the number one suitors for Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols if St. Louis allows him to hit the free agent market following the 2011 season.
The Red Sox have a lot of money as a major market club and they have room for the Redbirds slugger at first base and in the heart of their lineup.
According to NESN:
...And if you have a chance to block that path with a guy like Pujols, even if he will be 32 in 2012, you do it. Heck, the Sox came close to importing another big-time first baseman just two years ago before being outbid on Mark Teixeira. In addition, they've shown willingness to bring in the white whale when in 2004 they nearly acquired Alex Rodriguez, whose annual salary is akin to what Pujols will receive.
Red Sox fans have freely pined for guys like Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder when dreaming of the future at first base. Rarely do we hear the name of Pujols, simply for the fact that it would seem asinine for St. Louis to ever let him go.
But consider the circumstances surrounding Pujols.
The Cardinals already have $17 million invested in outfielder Matt Holliday each year through 2016. Based on what Ryan Howard received in Philadelphia (five years, $125 million), Pujols will need at least $25 million per to stick around. That means well over $40 million tied into two players. While the Holliday signing was made in order to provide a partner in crime and protection for Pujols, there are expiring deals approaching at several other positions on the St. Louis roster. Perhaps other needs will become more pressing than keeping those two together.
Also, if Pujols desires to finish his career with a perennial winner, perhaps leaving St. Louis is necessary. After reaching the postseason in five of his first six seasons, Pujols has reached it just once in the last four and it resulted in a first-round sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009. The Cards haven't won a postseason game since clinching the 2006 World Series and have averaged just over 84 wins in the past five seasons.
As I said earlier this off-season, one of the best things that could happen to the Cardinals is if the Red Sox make a trade for Gonzalez and sign him to a contract extension. But the best way to handle the situation is to take matters into their own hands and sign Pujols before the Bo Sox have a chance to bid for them.
I also take exception to the idea that Pujols would have to leave St. Louis to have a chance to win. It's amazing how uppity Red Sox Nation is after winning two World Series in the last 90 years. It's true the Cardinals have had some disappointment in the last four years. But what do people expect? Pujols has had the chance to play in the post season in six of his 10 big league seasons. Making the post season every three years in the major leagues is actually quite an accomplishment.
Nomar Garciaparra went to the post season three times in his eight plus years in Boston and the Red Sox lost three of the five post-season series he played in... And I don't think Ted Williams or Carl Yastrzemski were in danger of getting hernias lugging around their World Series rings (since they didn't get ANY during their Boston careers.)
If Pujols is thinking about signing with the Red Sox, I hope he calls his good friend Edgar Renteria first. Renteria could probably open his eyes about how much fun it is to play in front of the Bean Town "faithful."