To begin, Albert Pujols is royalty in St. Louis. He's like Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle to those annoying Yankees fans. He's already a mythical figure to one of the most loyal, rabid fanbases in all of Major League Baseball.
Think Michael Young is the face of this Rangers franchise? Albert Pujols would laugh at that idea.
And as loved as he is in land of Budweiser, he's bitter and disgruntled after not getting a new contract by his self-imposed deadline of noon Wednesday. He's reportedly asking for 10 years for $300 million, and he's 31 years old.
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Remember, in baseball, contracts are guaranteed for the life of the deal, meaning the Cardinals would be paying Pujols until he's 41-years-old, which in this supposed new "steroid-free" era would mean they'd be paying him into retirement. Can't blame the Cards' brass for not wanting to do that deal.
But now Pujols says he's not negotiating until after the season and will open up his free agency options.
So, what if ... Oh, what if.
What if come July, the Rangers are on the brink. Say Derek Holland follows through on his potential and is a quality starter. Say C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis build on last year's breakouts and become even better. Say Brandon Webb is just fine and back to his Cy Young self. And say a young Mitch Moreland is struggling and Chris Davis is still Chris Davis.
Imagine the ESPN ticker: Rangers acquire 1B Albert Pujols from Cardinals for C Mike Napoli, OF Julio Borbon and prospects.
It would just be on a rent-a-player basis, meaning the Rangers would have to pay for half of a season of Pujols on his old deal (roughly $7 millon on the Rangers) and it would strike fear into all of Major League Baseball with possible exception of the Phillies (we miss you, Cliff). Then, the Rangers would be a prime contender to re-sign Pujols in the off-season after he enjoys a half-season of playing in the launching pad. The Rangers have the money to spend, they have what appears to be an aggressive ownership under Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan and after last season they are now a more desirable destination for top-notch players.
Is it likely to happen? Of course it's not. Would it be totally awesome. Yes. Did Grizzly Adams have a beard? Grizzly Adams DID have a beard.