Before I say anything else, let me just start by saying that I love the winter meetings. If you are not aware of the winter meetings, or that they are happening this week in Dallas, let me give you a brief description. The general managers of every MLB franchise agree to gather in one hotel for one week. In addition to the general managers, there are player agents, players, coaches, owners, and lots of media present. It is in this highly concentrated environment that the hot stove is never hotter...
With all of that being said I should probably write a "Transaction Reaction" piece on Aaron Harang signing with the Dodgers or Matt Capps re-signing with the Twins. But with all of the winter meetings excitement, those bits of news seem, well, dull. Instead, I'd like write about what seems to be the biggest story at the moment--the fact that Albert Pujols negotiations are gaining "momentum." The two teams that are getting hot and heavy are the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals. So what follows is a pro and con list for Albert signing with either of these teams:
St. Louis Cardinals
- He'd be coming back to join a world championship team that will be adding Cy Young caliber Adam Wainwright to the starting rotation
- He'd be able to remain in an organizational situation that he is comfortable with
- Quick, think of a list of the games most legendary players... How many of them played their whole career with one team? There seems to be some inherent cache that comes with spending your entire tenure wearing one uniform
- Stan Musial style statue outside Busch Stadium
- The Cardinals are an organization that has proven its commitment to winning and fielding a competitive team over a long period of time
- The organization itself is an incredibly stable one
- I would guess that in the long run, the contract would be smaller (years and/or average annual value)
- The insult of the Cardinals front office "playing it cool" with regard to negotiations. Everyone would like to be told that they are needed and couldn't be lived without. The Cardinals simply have not said this to Albert with words or actions
- Potentially bigger contract (years and/or average annual value)
- The chance to be the face of a franchise potentially on the rise, with a young core of star players and other star free agent additions
- The opportunity to play alongside more hispanic players, under a hispanic coach, in a hispanic city.
- Exciting new uniforms (not sure if this is a pro or con... Take a look at the uni's and judge for yourself. I guess it depends upon your sense of style)
- The chance to join fellow stars Heath Bell (Chris Bosh) and Jose Reyes (Dwayne Wade) in "taking his talents to south beach."
- I heard somewhere that Albert has a grandmother that lives in Miami. I guess that matters, if you like your grandma and all...
- New is always exciting. Right?
- No telling what this new mix of players and personalities will become (see "Transaction Reaction: Jose Reyes"), especially with the highly combustible Ozzie Guillen at the helm
- The Miami Marlins (formerly the Florida Marlins) have not proven their commitment to winning over a period of time. In fact, they have done the exact opposite, twice winning the World Series, and then blowing up the roster
- There is no telling exactly how stable this franchise is. They have perennially had one of the lower payrolls in the league, but all of a sudden they are big spenders, and are in on every free agent. Something smells fishy... (pun intended)
All of that being said, I suspect some decision will be made soon. Winter meetings!!!