Albert Pujols to… Baltimore?!

If any of you have been keeping up in recent weeks with the talks between the St. Louis Cardinals and slugging all-star first baseman Albert Pujols, then you know that the speculation on the issue will go above and beyond one’s imagination over the coming months.  Here’s what we know so far:

  • Pujols is a free agent after the 2011 season
  • Albert and his agent have supposedly set a deadline as the beginning of Spring Training for the team to negotiate a contract extension with him
  • Pujols is said to be primarily seeking ARod money (10 years/$275 million), but it is being speculated that the Cardinals are low-balling him, offering contracts around the $200 million line, both above and below
  • Analysts say that the reason he will not get ARod money is because there is currently no market big enough to compete with the Cardinals to push the price that high (Yankees with Tex and Red Sox with Gonzalez, both for long term), so there is no need to hit that high selling point.

So that’s the basics of the situation.

As of now, the two sides are said to be not too close on anything at this point, which of course makes every baseball fan, reporter, and analyst in the country speculate.  Remember, it’s ALL speculation.  For all we know, they could sign an extension today.

The odd point the brings this all back to the topic of Baltimore sports is what Jon Heyman wrote yesterday in his piece on SI.com about the story.  First off, check out the article for more detailed information on this whole situation.  Second, he has this posted as one of the four “Possible Pujols pursuers”:

Orioles. They have Derrek Lee on a one-year deal, and that marriage is seen as one of convenience, with Lee almost surely there to try to repeat the Adrian Beltre route of using one big season to jump elsewhere. The Orioles and owner Peter Angelos have a good financial situation, despite flagging attendance, due to a favorable deal with MLB to allow the Nationals to impede on their geographic space.

Weird, right?  We are prone to think that Angelos would never spend this kind of money on a single player.  Plus MacPhail is know to HATE long term contracts (more so with pitchers, but concept still applies when talking about a possible 7-10 year deal with a hitter).  Adding on the rumors going around lately about Cal purchasing the team in the next couple of years, and this speculation seems quite off base to me.

Would I like the move? Who wouldn’t?! This would be a no brainer.  With people begging the organization to chase after Fielder in 2011, this would just be a move, well, ten times better.  It’s one of those no doubt additions that would make the Orioles a contender almost instantly.  Yes, I just said that.

There would also be the question, as usual, of “Would Albert even consider Baltimore?“.  This is why competing and hitting the .500 mark this season is as important as ever.  Not just with Pujols, but with Fielder or any other possible long term big names, the Orioles need to hit some strides and come out with a bang in 2011.

The pessimistic side of me factors in all of the big upcoming contracts for guys like Matusz, Arrieta, Wieters, Jones, and more.  Yeah, I had to go there.

With all of this in mind, do you think Pujols in Baltimore is even a plausible scenario for the Orioles?

Avi Miller is a graduating senior at Stevenson University aspiring to one day cover the MLB beat. A member of CoSIDA, Avi currently works in sports information at the NCAA Division III level and has previously held positions with the Baltimore Jewish Times and Fox Sports Radio.

15 Comments

  1. WishfulThinking

    January 18, 2011 at 11:20 am

    This is a fun idea to ponder. Can you imagine how much the O's would have to overpay this guy? And even if he did, there is no reason to think he would go Cliff Lee and say that he has enough money.

    • @2131andBeyond

      January 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      The Orioles, assuming they DON'T hit .500 this season, would have to pay upwards of $300 million for him. As in, not happening. Most likely.

  2. Sheila

    January 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    No. No chance this is happening. There is no reason for him to trade one small market for a small market losing team. I know he likes keeping a low profile, but he has a chance to win World Series rings in the NL. There is no reason, short of lacking any other real offers, for him to accept coming to Baltimore. There are a half dozen other teams at least who will let him set his own salary, so that won't be an issue.

    The Cal rumors have been going on for a decade- it isn't happening either. Let's develop from within and not get our hopes up for a real acquisition, much less a huge splash like that.

    • @2131andBeyond

      January 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Per the Cal rumors: the latest rumor seems to be from a legit source who has an in. Who knows.

  3. Zach

    January 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Absolutely, 0% chance this happens.

    • @2131andBeyond

      January 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Not 0%. Maybe 0.001%. Like the percentage of hope Orioles fans had for Garrett Atkins. There's that grain of hope.

      • Zach

        January 18, 2011 at 6:26 pm

        I'm pretty confident in my 0%

  4. MGW

    January 18, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Will NOT happen, no way, no how.

  5. Mark

    January 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I’m gonna steal a quote from another board where this idea was posed.

    “If Albert ever signed with Baltimore, the world would stop spinning on its axis; gasoline would go back to 50 cents per gallon; and Jim Palmer would come out of retirement and win 20 games.”

    Or my response.

    So you’re tellin me there’s a chance. YEA!

    - Lloyd Christmas

  6. Clark

    January 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    No way this ever happens, not with Pujols or anyone at his level. Peter wouldn't know how to sign Pujols even if he was asking for a million a year. This team will only get better and get beyond 80 wins if either of these happen, 1} the team builds a winner from within and/or 2} Peter sells the team.

  7. Mark

    January 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    I'm gonna steal a quote from another board where this idea was posed.

    "If Albert ever signed with Baltimore, the world would stop spinning on its axis; gasoline would go back to 50 cents per gallon; and Jim Palmer would come out of retirement and win 20 games."

    Or my response.

    So you're tellin me there's a chance.  YEA!

    - Lloyd Christmas

  8. Ross

    January 18, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    A couple Pujols contract related notes (for a much more detailed explanation of this, minus the O's spin please read Dave Cameron's excellent column – http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-pujo

    Pujols averages a pretty steady 8 WAR a year. At current market price he should be worth ~$40 million a year. The typical age regression for elite hitters has him averaging 5.5-6.5 WAR over the next 5 seasons. This means even with a conservative 5% inflation in the market Pujols is worth $150 million over the next 5 seasons. If you continue to prorate over 10 seasons with regresson and inflation you get ~$270 million over the next 10 seasons. My point is: If we entered an alternate universe where the Orioles spent massive amounts of money on long term free agent contracts and the O's offered Pujols the infamous A-rod contract (10years, $300 million) or a something shorter term with more $ per year say (5 years, 180 million) there is a good chance he would almost be worth it!

  9. ed Miller

    January 19, 2011 at 10:54 am

    He's 31………. com'on, a 7 year contract, breaking the bank? No way, grow a first baseman through the farm and stick with what wins Championships………….. pitching. The old rule is "If your guys throw a shutout, the worst you get is a tie!". I say the O's play above .500 this year. Is that enough to challenge for a wild card, probably not, but people will come back to the ballpark!

  10. Troy

    February 2, 2011 at 1:44 am

    I don't think there is much of a chance that Pujols gets signed by the Cardinals. With Wainwright, Carpenter, and Holliday all earning considerable money, Pujols may need to take his $300 million demands elsewhere…..

  11. 9inchnails

    February 2, 2011 at 6:00 am

    There is a better chance that Barry Bonds, Brady Anderson and Cal Ripken would admit to using steroids before the Orioles even gave a thought to signing Pujols. Any serious Orioles fan knows that the Orioles will fake an interest to get a little fan excitement and that is it.