Davidoff On Pujols, Fielder, Angels, Oppenheimer

Industry people are curious whether C.C. Sabathia actually would leave the Yankees and opinions are all over the map on where Jose Reyes will end up in 2012.  There's an even bigger debate brewing in baseball circles, writes Ken Davidoff of Newsday..

  • Whoever signs first between Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols will set the financial bar for the other player to top and it's hard to say who will make the first move.  Pujols has a realistic chance to re-sign with the Cardinals while it seems increasingly unlikely that Fielder will return to the Brewers.  There's also the matter of the relationship between the players' agents, Scott Boras and Dan Lozano.  Boras has shown in the past that he has no concerns about dragging his players' free agencies well past January 1st in order get the deal he wants.  Meanwhile, Pujols represents Lozano's first big test since breaking off from the Beverly Hills Sports Council last year.
  • For now, Davidoff predicts that Pujols will sign first and stay with the Cardinals.  Fielder, wherever he goes, won't top Pujols' annual average value.
  • There are a number of candidates for the vacant Angels' GM position but Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is the club's top choice.  However, it's widely assumed that Friedman will remain with Tampa Bay.  Davidoff writes that Yankees senior vice president/director of scouting Damon Oppenheimer seems like the best choice for the job.  Oppenheimer played a significant role in several departments for the Bombers, from postseason scouting to discovering amateur talent to recommending major-league trades.  Oppenheimer would bring baseball intelligence and a strong presence to serve as a check and balance for owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia .

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