Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pujols to Yankees, Red Sox talk to last all season

Since Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals failed to agree to a contract extension, expect a full season of speculation about the possibility of the best baseball player on the planet ending up with the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox. provided a helpful analysis of why the Red Sox will have plenty of money to spend on Pujols this offseason, including the expiration of David Ortiz's $12.5 million deal that will also open up the designated hitter spot for Pujols. Ortiz is probably the most popular player in Boston and replacing him with Pujols would cushion the blow of his leaving the team.

Expect a similar analysis from one of the Yankees beat writers soon. It will probably go something like this: the Yankees can afford Pujols since Jorge Posada's $52 million deal expires this offseason, which also opens up a DH spot for Pujols in the Bronx. I don’t think the Yankees can ever not afford a player, but the upside of losing Cliff Lee is that they can spend the $25 million per year they’re not paying Lee on Pujols.

I don’t buy the notion that the Yankees and Red Sox will not be players for Pujols because they are set at first base with Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez. The numbers Pujols has put up are staggering: .331 career batting average, 408 home runs and 1,230 runs batted in. He’s a good guy we can root for to break all-time records and wipe out the steroid king Barry Bonds. Plus, he’s a star that will put people in those expensive seats and drive up television ratings on their regional sports networks. Believe me, if he has any interest in coming to the Bronx or heading to Beantown, both teams will find a spot and the money for him.

So expect a long season of speculation about where Pujols will end up playing next year, a lot of it focused on New York and Boston. Nothing wrong with adding a little more spice to the Rivalry.

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