The St. Louis Cardinals have won the 2011 World Series in a dramatic comeback against the Texas Rangers. Now the big question arises: What's next for Albert Pujols?
Pujols was asked that question after his team had won Game 7 last night, but Pujols remained quiet on the issue. With free agency beginning next week, both the Cardinals and Pujols need to make a decision.
The World Series win definitely helps their chances at re-signing Pujols, but other teams are willing to break the bank on him. The Red Sox could still sign Pujols, but that means him more than likely playing DH and David Ortiz not returning. The Chicago Cubs and Theo Epstein need to make a big splash and what bigger splash than landing the biggest name in baseball away from your rival. The Cubs have the money, but Epstein needs to sell him on the idea.
Another surprising team could be the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers expect Prince Fielder to leave so use that money to sign Albert Pujols and it would make a slight improvement to an already pretty good team. And what free agency season would be complete without the New York Yankees. The Yankees have a ton of money and are willing to throw it around, so why not attempt to sign Pujols? The Yankees would be willing to offer him $300 million. The Yanks already have Mark Teixiera at first, but one or the other could play DH, a huge upgrade from the aging Jorge Posada.
However, the Cardinals seem to be the favorite and rightfully so. Why would Pujols leave the only team he ever played for? He has already won two titles with them and they have a young electrifying team who can easily repeat next year. The Cardinals need to keep Pujols around as a mentor to all the young players if they want to continue their success. They need him more than he needs them. If you ask me, the St. Louis Cardinals re-sign Albert Pujols and make him a Cardinal for life.
With the 2011 Major League Baseball season winding down we are now left to face a long, cold winter. With the long winter comes the MLB Free Agency season and one team in particular, the Boston Red Sox, have some holes to fill and a lot of question marks. Here are just some of the names I believe Ben Cherington and the Red Sox brass should take a look at:
The Red Sox have a huge need when it comes to starting pitching. John Lackey is very inconsistent and Red Sox Nation's patience has grown thin and Daisuke Matsuzaka probably not coming back, it just makes sense to look at Buehrle. Mark Buehrle has been a consistent pitcher for the Chicago White Sox and has never missed a start since his career began back in 2001. This is in contrast to Lackey, Beckett, Buchholz, and Dice-K who seemingly miss starts. Buehrle is a great southpaw and would give Boston a great 1-2 punch with Jon Lester. Mark Buehrle also is the only pitcher in history to throw multiple no-hitters and win multiple Gold Gloves.
The Red Sox need a right fielder. Bad. J.D. Drew just is cutting it and is likely gone. Jason Kubel seems to be a good fit and would be considerably cheaper than Carl Crawford. Kubel is a left handed bat and, although not a power hitter, would enjoy the confines of Fenway Park. Right field at Fenway is 302 down the line and Kubel could easily increase his home run totals.
The Sox bullpen, while improved from 2010, still needs help. Jonathan Broxton might be that answer. Broxton seemed to have lost his touch in 2011 losing his closer's role, but could help Daniel Bard bridge the gap between starter to Papelbon (or whoever is the closer). If Papelbon leaves town, Broxton could be a closer considering Daniel Bard's breakdown down the stretch and inexperience at closing so you need some veterans in that bullpen. Broxton should be looked at.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a better than expected season in Boston, but is he really the answer? Ryan Doumit, while not fantastic behind the plate, could be a great compliment to Salty. Doumit is durable for a catcher too. He has played in right field and first base in the past for the Pirates. Saltalamacchia and Doumit could make a solid catching tandem, not fantastic, but just enough to get by.
This is a long shot, but the Sox could use Fielder if Big Papi leaves. Ortiz has stated that the drama in Boston has gotten to be too much and could leave Boston. That would open the door for Prince Fielder. However, Fielder would almost certainly have to play Designated Hitter with Adrian Gonzalez at first base and being a better defensive player. Fielder is younger than Pujols and will cost less money, but the Sox have that money? I don't think the Red Sox will sign him but they should at least kick the tires.
That is just some of the names I think Boston should go after. Ben Cherington has a tough task in front of him, but I think he will make some good moves and improve from last year. First and foremost, he needs to re-sign Ortiz and Papelbon. If not it will be that much harder to fill those gaps left in their wake.
Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of the Red Sox. The Red Sox drama sounds more and more like a soap opera everyday.
Today's installment of As the Red Sox World Turns, David Ortiz has said that he is fed up with the drama in Boston and might consider signing with the Yankees. Ortiz said, ""There's too much drama, man, there's too much drama. I have been thinking about a lot of things. I don't know if I want to be part of this drama for next year" and has heard that playing for the Yankees is a good situation to be in. The Yankees need a middle of the order presence and Ortiz fits that mold, so why not? Plus it would be a huge coup if the Yankees can steal a beloved Red Sox player.
Just two weeks ago, Ortiz stated that he wanted to return to Fenway next season. That was before the mudslinging and the departure of Theo Epstein. Since the season ended, reports have come out saying Terry Francona was distracted by martial problems and a substance abuse problem, pitchers partying down in the clubhouse during games, and players revolting against ownership over a doubleheader against Oakland. The Yankees will overpay for Ortiz that is a given, but will Ortiz bite? If Ortiz does sign with the Bronx Bombers it will erase everything he has done for Red Sox Nation and make him a vilified figure in Boston. Ortiz has to do what he has to do and if it is signing with the Yankees so be it.
When Ortiz leaves, it does give the Red Sox more money to go after bigger names like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Question is would any of them be willing to play DH with first base occupied by Adrian Gonzalez? Pujols will most likely re-sign with the Cardinals because he seems like a pretty loyal player and is known as one of the greatest Cards of all time and the Cardinals will break the bank for him. Fielder has previously stated that this season will probably be his last in Milwaukee. So the Red Sox have a better chance of signing Fielder than they do with Pujols. Fielder, if he does sign with Boston, would almost have to play DH because Gonzalez is better defensively. Problem is Fielder doesn't play any other position and a move to Boston seems unlikely. A move to the AL seems unlikely. When it is all said and done Pujols and Fielder don't end up in Beantown.
In my opinion, Ortiz has played his last game in Boston as the drama has gotten to be too much for him. It will be hard for new General Manager Ben Cherington to replace him during free agency without Pujols and Fielder. Red Sox fans, you are witnessing the beginning of the end.