Albert Pujols Rumors
Fifteen years ago today, the Astros and Tigers swung a nine-player trade. Houston received Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski, and Daryle Ward while Detroit imported Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, and Orlando Miller. It's not often you see a club turnover 20% of its roster in a single deal. Here are some evening links...
- Albert Pujols' new ten-year contract with the Angels will keep him with the team for another ten years after it expires. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports (on Twitter) that the deal will keep him on board as a consultant to owner Arte Moreno for a decade after his playing days are over.
- In a second tweet, Gonzalez heard from C.J. Wilson that not only did the Marlins offer him a sixth guaranteed year, but they also offered him an option for a seventh year as well.
- Even after signing Rafael Furcal to a two-year, $14MM contract, Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio reports (on Twitter) that the Cardinals remain in contact with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. Beltran could step in at right field and help replace some of the offense lost when Pujols left.
- "I haven't talked to anyone," said non-tender candidate and Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, indicating that he doesn't know what will happen before Monday's deadline to tender contracts to players with less than six years of service time. "I have no idea. I don't know what the plan is. I don't know how they view me or if I fit in their plans. All I can do is prepare myself and be ready for whatever comes my way."
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports that the Diamondbacks have signed former Astros outfielder Jason Lane as a left-handed pitcher. The 34-year-old hasn't appeared in the big leagues since 2007, but he made the move to the mound this past season. Todd Dewey of the Las Vegas Journal-Review chronicled the conversion back in August.
On this day in 2008, the Rays traded Edwin Jackson to the Tigers for Matthew Joyce. In his first full season for Tampa Bay in 2011, Joyce hit .277/.347/.478 with 19 homers and received his first All-Star nomination. Here are some links for Saturday afternoon..
- The personal services clause in Albert Pujols' contract ties him to the Angels for ten years beyond his playing contract, tweets Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. In total, Pujols and the Angels are set to be in business together for 20 years.
- The Angels were the only team to call the Cardinals about a possible trade for Pujols in recent years, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The talks never advanced, however, as the Cards wouldn't consider trading him (via Twitter).
- There's no evidence of any interest in Carlos Lee yet, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Heyman suggests that the 35-year-old might need Prince Fielder to come off the board first before the Astros can trade him. Last year, Lee hit .275/.342/.446 with 18 homers for the Astros. The Indians have reportedly considered the veteran but are wary of his price tag.
- The Athletics’ haul for right-hander Trevor Cahill should be a pretty good indication of what the Rays might expect for righty Wade Davis, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Clubs might not view Davis as highly, but his contract might make him even more appealing to teams such as the Reds and Marlins.
- According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Nationals’ final offer to Mark Buehrle was $39MM over three years, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Ultimately, the right-hander signed with the Marlins for $58MM over four years. Ultimately, the Nats' offer was $19MM less in overall guaranteed money and $1.5MM less in average annual value.
Albert Pujols is heading to Anaheim. After flirtations with the hyper-aggressive Marlins and extended talks with his hometown Cardinals, Pujols accepted a ten-year deal worth more than $250MM from the Angels. Here's a blow-by-blow look ahead to the impact the contract will have, starting in Anaheim:
Angels: The Angels' offense was ordinary in 2011, and Pujols should help change that. The Angels' projected lineup becomes even more right-handed with the addition of Pujols, but GM Jerry Dipoto figures to make more moves before Spring Training.
Rookie of the Year runner-up Mark Trumbo and the injured Kendrys Morales are now in limbo. There has been some talk of moving Trumbo to third, but the Angels may trade him instead. Morales, a borderline non-tender candidate with a projected salary in the $3MM range, might draw interest from teams such as the Rays, Pirates, Cubs, Brewers and Blue Jays if and when he and Trumbo become available.
Dipoto has had an immense impact in his six weeks on the job in Anaheim (the Angels also agreed to terms with C.J. Wilson). It's clear that owner Arte Moreno hired an aggressive GM who believes the Angels can win soon. The Angels will lose the 19th overall selection in the 2012 draft to the Cardinals.
Cardinals - You can't replace the best hitter in baseball. The Cardinals outscored every National League team in 2011 and they'll keep scoring in 2012, but replacing Pujols in the short-term represents a challenge for the defending World Series winners.
The Cardinals have lost two franchise icons -- Pujols and manager Tony La Russa -- since winning it all this October. They’ll have a new look in 2012 under rookie manager Mike Matheny. St. Louis also obtains two compensatory draft picks for Pujols in 2012.
The St. Louis lineup will look considerably different next year. Lance Berkman projects as the everyday first baseman with Allen Craig in right field. However, Craig underwent knee surgery and may not be ready for Opening Day, so the Cardinals may look to obtain outfield (or first base) depth. GM John Mozeliak should have the money he needs to address weaknesses in the middle infield, the bullpen and, possibly, the rotation. Losing Pujols also provides the Cardinals with future payroll flexibility. Though the loss stings now, they'll have more financial freedom over the course of the next decade.
Marlins - President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest improved his lineup -- one that finished the 2011 season 23rd in baseball in runs scored -- even though Pujols signed elsewhere. Few pitchers will want to face a group that includes Jose Reyes, a healthy Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison.
The lineup will also include Gaby Sanchez, assuming the Marlins don't sign Prince Fielder. Sanchez, a Miami native who has never played a position other than first base at the Major League level, would have interested other teams if Pujols had signed in Miami.
Brewers, Mariners, Cubs, Rangers, Mystery Teams - Any team interested in Prince Fielder watched the Pujols negotiations with interest. Though Pujols’ numbers are superior to Fielder's from a career standpoint, agent Scott Boras may attempt to use Pujols’ deal to his client’s advantage.
Joey Votto - Votto doesn’t have the same resume as Pujols, but he may use Thursday’s agreement as a point of reference when he hits free agency after the 2013 season. Fielder’s deal will be a better be a better comparison for Votto.
Mets - The Mets would have obtained a third round compensation pick for losing Reyes if Pujols had signed with the Marlins. Instead, the Mets are looking at a second round selection for losing the All-Star shortstop.
The MLBPA - It’s the second biggest deal in baseball history, so there’s lots to like from the players association's perspective. The contract tops the average annual value of deals for lesser players such as Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez and Mark Teixeira. Agent Dan Lozano obtained a deal that makes Pujols the second MLB player to surpass the $200MM contract plateau (Alex Rodriguez is the other).
The Marlins held an introductory press conference for Mark Buehrle today, and here are a few hot stove details from those proceedings and beyond...
- The Marlins have "poked around in the market" to see what interest there would be in Hanley Ramirez, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. The team claimed Ramirez wouldn't be dealt in the wake of Jose Reyes' signing but even coming off a down year, Ramirez would be a big trade chip.
- Logan Morrison is "drawing more trade interest" than any other Miami player, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Still, it is "highly, highly unlikely" Morrison is sent elsewhere.
- Team president David Samson denied reports that the Marlins offered Albert Pujols a near-record contract, saying the club's offer was worth a bit more than $200MM, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported yesterday that Miami offered Pujols a ten-year, $275MM deal that could have ultimately been worth $300MM with incentives and because Florida has no state income tax.
- When asked if the club would pursue Prince Fielder, owner Jeffrey Loria replied "Oh, I don't know about that. We'll see," reports Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. In another tweet, Capozzi hears from a source that the Marlins never had interest in Fielder.
- Juan C. Rodriguez reports the Marlins also aren't interested in free agent starter Edwin Jackson (Twitter link).
- The Marlins are planning to have internal discussions about an extension for Mike Stanton, Capozzi reports (via Twitter). There is no time frame, however, as the club is waiting until "after [the] dust settles" on their busy offseason. Stanton is already under team control through 2016 and doesn't reach arbitration for two more years.
- MLB.com's Anthony DiComo details the incentive clauses and the year-by-year breakdown of Jose Reyes' six-year deal. Reyes will earn $10MM in each of the next two seasons, $16MM in 2014, and then $22MM in each of the final three guaranteed seasons. The Marlins have a $22MM team option on Reyes for 2018 that can be bought out for $4MM.
Needless to say, people will be talking about the Angels' blockbuster contract with Albert Pujols for years, if not decades, to come. We published one batch of reactions to the signing yesterday, and now here are some fresh perspectives about the impact of the already-legendary deal...
- The Angels have agreed to a 20-year TV contract with Fox Sports worth at least $3 billion, reports Bill Shaikin and Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times. With the Dodgers' deal with Fox struck down in court and the Lakers moving to Time Warner Cable, the Angels had a clear line to this huge new deal and revenue stream. As Shaikin and Baxter put it to Halos fans, Pujols was "brought to you by Frank McCourt and Kobe Bryant."
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs looks at how major signings rarely lead to long-term boosts in attendance.
- There is no truth to rumors the Angels and A's were discussing a trade involving Mark Trumbo and Andrew Bailey, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slusser's source calls the rumor "total fiction."
- During labor talks, Arte Moreno was critical of other owners signing players to expensive, long-term contracts, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- Adrian Gonzalez's seven-year, $154MM contract with the Red Sox "looks rather incredible now," writes WEEI.com's Alex Speier. "There is a good chance that Gonzalez will be a better player than Pujols for the next seven years. But even if he is not...the difference will not be as wide as a nine-figure contract chasm would suggest."
Bob Nightengale has a fantastic story up at USA Today that provides a timeline of the negotiations involving Albert Pujols and a handful of clubs at the Winter Meetings. The must-read piece includes word that Pujols' contract could be worth as much as $280MM with incentives. Here are the other highlights:
- When Dodgers manager Don Mattingly spoke to Pujols last weekend, he sensed Pujols wasn't entirely happy with the Cardinals: "You could just sense something was wrong. He was getting frustrated by it."
- The Marlins were "relentless," increasing their offer to Pujols multiple times until it reached $275MM. They expected to leave Dallas having signed Pujols, but never offered the no-trade clause he wanted.
- A mystery team (not the Angels) stepped in on Monday and offered Pujols ten years and $225MM. This mystery club "refuses to be publicly identified," writes Nightengale.
- On Tuesday, the Cardinals offered a nine-year, $210MM deal with a tenth-year vesting option. At around this time, the Marlins were eliminated from the mix (whether by Pujols or the team), narrowing the decision to the Cards and the mystery team.
- Late Tuesday, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto called agent Dan Lozano to talk Pujols. Early Wednesday morning, the Halos offered a ten-year deal worth about $250MM.
- As of Wednesday night, Lozano expected Pujols to mull the decision for a few days, but the slugger called him early this morning to accept the Angels' offer.
Albert Pujols and the Angels agreed to a $254MM deal today that will keep the longtime Cardinal under contract until he's 41. As you can imagine, the signing has inspired some reactions across the league. Here are a few takes and additional details on the second-largest contract in baseball history:
Tim Dierkes' take: In hindsight, it was odd to be talking about offers in the $200MM range on the open market for Pujols, who still may be the best hitter in baseball. It seems that ultimately the Cardinals were way behind in their offer, as both the Marlins and Angels offered over $40MM more. Before the 2011 season, a contract for Pujols topping Alex Rodriguez's $275MM seemed possible in free agency, but a rough start to the season and the lowest walk rate of Pujols' career might have given a few teams pause. Plus, the Yankees and Red Sox weren't involved.
Almost all long-term contracts end badly. Angels owner Arte Moreno knows that, and he's going for broke for the next three to four years. I generally appreciate an owner who is willing to do that. We see teams overpay for dozens of free agents every winter; Angels fans should be glad their owner did it for the best free agent in years.
I can't speak for Cardinals fans, but I don't see cause to be angry toward Pujols or the team. The Cardinals made the best offer they could reasonably afford, and it was nowhere near the others. They still have a strong team and the glow of two recent World Series wins. As for Albert, if I was him I wouldn't have agreed to a contract that made me the fourth-best-paid first baseman in the game.
Additonal Pujols reactions:
- The signing makes the Angels much better in the short term, but it's "almost unthinkable that this contract will look like a good one in 2021 when we look back on it after its conclusion," writes ESPN.com's Keith Law (Insider required).
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs agrees with Law, saying the Angels will need a lot of breaks in order for the deal to work out long-term.
- The Angels were the "unlikely beneficiary of the Cardinals' inactivity," says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Cardinals fans have the right to feel bitter, but comparing Pujols to LeBron James is misguided, since Pujols and the Cards won two championships, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- "I would like our fans to know that we tried our best to make Albert a lifetime Cardinal but unfortunately we were unable to make it happen," Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said as part of a statement, thanking Albert for his achievements and community contributions.
- Two other FOX Sports scribes provided their takes on the deal as well.
- At today's press conference, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto praised the athleticism of Mark Trumbo, now the Angels' former first baseman. Dipoto mentioned third base, designated hitter, and the outfield as possibilities for Trumbo, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- Appearing on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, Dipoto said the Angels didn't get heavily involved with Pujols until the last 24 hours before they reached an agreement.
- Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spoke to a few National League GMs who are happy to see Pujols switching leagues. "I'll miss seeing him," said Reds GM Walt Jocketty. "But I won't miss facing him."
- Typically big spenders, the Yankees and Red Sox weren't in on the Pujols bidding. Yanks GM Brian Cashman "gave it a nice, respectful no" when Pujols' camp approached him, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. Sox GM Ben Cherington said it would have taken "huge, fundamental changes" to the team's roster and payroll to sign Pujols, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
- As we discussed earlier, the Angels' offer wasn't the largest one Pujols received -- the Marlins' ten-year proposal topped it.
With $191MM committed to Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell, Marlins fans can't complain about their offseason so far. Only one of the 5,020 entrants in MLBTR's free agent prediction contest, Matthew Lazear, correctly guessed in November that the Marlins would sign all three. However, it's interesting to note that the Marlins also made the highest bids on top free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, who ultimately went to the Angels today.
Pujols received ten years and $254MM from the Angels, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the Marlins offered ten years and $275MM. That would have tied Alex Rodriguez for the largest contract guarantee in baseball history. Nightengale says that with incentives and Florida's lack of a state income tax, the deal could have been worth nearly $300MM.
Wilson signed a five-year, $77.5MM deal with the Halos, but agent Bob Garber told Ken Rosenthal Wilson could "easily" have gotten $100MM, and the Marlins "would not let it go." Said Wilson: "But if it were just about money I'd be a Marlin, straight up, because they offered more money, they have a great situation."
The Marlins reportedly stuck to their policy of not including a no-trade clause for either player, which may have been a factor in their decisions.
The Angels are the bridesmaid no more. Albert Pujols signed a ten-year deal with the Angels, reports Yahoo's Tim Brown. He receives a full no-trade clause. Pujols decided this morning, writes Brown. The Angels have since announced the monumental signing, which ESPN's Buster Olney says is for $254MM. It's the second-largest contract in baseball history in terms of overall and average annual value, behind Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM deal with the Yankees four years ago. Pujols is represented by Dan Lozano of Icon Sports Group.
Pujols, 32 in January, was drafted by the Cardinals in 1999 in the 13th round and began his career with a staggering 11-year stretch. The first baseman is the active career leader in batting average (.328) and slugging percentage (.617). He's second among active players in career on-base percentage at .421, so Pujols certainly fits new Angels GM Jerry Dipoto's plan to improve the team's OBP. Pujols owns a Rookie of the Year award and three MVP awards, and has ranked no worse than ninth in the MVP voting in every season of his career. He's been extremely durable, averaging 155 games per season.
Pujols anchors an Angels offense that ranked tenth in the American League in 2011 with 4.12 runs scored per game. With Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo, Dipoto now has a surplus at first base, but reportedly he won't trade either. Within an hour of the Pujols signing breaking, Dipoto completed a five-year, $77.5MM deal with free agent lefty C.J. Wilson, bringing the team's total today to $331.5MM.
The Cardinals signed Pujols to a long-term deal in 2004, which ended up being a huge bargain at $111MM over eight years. Pujols and the Cardinals failed to find common ground on an extension in February this year, but the contract didn't seem a distraction as the team ended up winning the World Series.
The suddenly free-spending Marlins made the high bid for Pujols this offseason at ten years and $275MM, but they would not bend on their policy of avoiding full no-trade clauses. They seemingly dropped out after signing Mark Buehrle. The Cubs reportedly made an offer to Pujols as well. Up until Thursday morning, the Cardinals were considered the favorite, though they reportedly topped out with a nine-year offer that was just the fourth-best he received. Pujols could have been the next Stan Musial, but even a call from the legendary Cardinals Hall of Famer couldn't convince him to take less money to stay in St. Louis. It's not much of a consolation prize, but the Cardinals will receive the Angels' #19 pick in the 2012 draft as well as a supplemental choice.
With Pujols off the market, Prince Fielder is the top prize still available for teams looking to add a big bat. However, based on recent reports, the most aggressive suitors for Pujols, the Cardinals and Marlins, won't be involved in the bidding for Fielder.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
We heard late last night that there is "no shot" Albert Pujols will make a decision before the Winter Meetings end. Still, here's the latest on the man who has $200MM+ offers from three teams including the Cardinals, Angels, and a mystery team who would reportedly need to trade an established first baseman to clear a path for the three-time MVP:
- The Angels want both Pujols and C.J. Wilson, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Angels have offered Pujols a ten-year deal worth at least $210MM and Wilson a five-year deal worth more than $70MM, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says that the Yankees are not the mystery team that's trying to set up a Pujols deal (Twitter link). That makes sense, given that Mark Teixeira has a full no-trade clause in his contract.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.