Making a Case for Albert Pujols

I had a dream the other night.  Long after the roar of Football season being over, hope springs eternal with the glimpse of Baseball starting once again.  In that dream, Lance Berkman was a St. Louis Cardinal, and Prince Albert was playing 1b for Your Houston Astros!  And for some reason, it didn’t feel strange, or wrong, or out of place.  And I thought about it all day, and spoke to many people (luckily I work in an industry where I can talk about sports all day long) and I kept finding myself arguing the same point over and over again.  Why don’t the Astros make a play for Albert Pujols?

 

1.)  Pujols is a legend in the making.  The guy has a career batting average of .331 with a an average of about 40 HRs a year.  His slugging percentage is a beastly .621 and cashes in about 123 RBIs a year (this is taking his career totals and dividing by 10, his number of years in the major leagues).  This is a future First Ballot Hall of Famer.  The guy rakes.  He’s won 2 Gold Gloves at 1b.  Now all of this notwithstanding, Albert is a quality human being.  He’s a good guy, and we all know how much our franchise likes to show the "Good Guy" face of the MLB.  We are a franchise of pretty good character guys.  Why not add another high caliber character individual?

2.)    He’s a sorely needed power bat to our hitting order.  Now brace yourselves for this one Crawfish Boxes regulars, I’m gonna go WAY out on a limb here.  Imagine this scenario:  Michael Young really wants out of Texas.  So let’s move try and move Carlos Lee for him.  Stick Albert at 1b, Young at 2b, and let Bill Hall patrol left field.  Considering the roster moves, I’m sure he’d be happy to be on a team that has a little more chance of contending.  Let Clint Barmes/Tommy Manzella/Angel Sanchez battle out the SS position.  Projected batting order?  Let me take a stab:  1- Michael Bourn, 2- Michael Young, 3- Albert Pujols, 4- Hunter Pence, 5- Chris Johnson, 6- Bill Hall, 7- Clint Barmes, 8- Jason Castro 9- Pitcher.   Sound a little bit better?  Let Brett Wallace find his way in AAA.  Maybe he can be converted to an every day LF if he finds his power stroke.

3.)    HOUSTON WAS ON HIS LIST OF TEAMS HE WOULD AGREE TO WAIVE HIS NO TRADE CLAUSE FOR.

4.)    So sometime in the middle of last year, former Braves Manager Bobby Cox made an off the cuff statement of saying that Albert Pujols was worth every bit of $50 million a year.  I know all of you guys bristle at the notion of locking up a guy (who’s 31) for 10 years for $300 million.  Now where I think this would make a logical move is, the Astros are braced for the youth movement.  We are in the middle of rebuilding our franchise with a bunch of young dudes.   (see point 6 for the financial breakdown)

5.)    10 years is too long?  I have to agree, paying Pujols $30 million when he hits his middle 30’s and starts taking a dip in production is a little scary.  On the other hand, according to SI.com, Albert has missed 4 weeks in total in his 10 years as a Professional Baseball Player.  4 weeks folks.  The guy is a machine.  He takes care of himself.  You won’t see Albert playing pickup basketball or dropping a truck on himself during the offseason (I know, blasphemy).  But one has to think that if he takes such good care of himself, how can he not be at the very least a SOLID everyday player until his late 30s?  This is a guy you build a young team around.  And hell, if it means we eek out a World Series win or two in 10 years, wouldn’t it all be worth it?

6.)    Butts in Seats.  Lots of Astros blasphemy in this piece, I know.  I told my Wife, another avid Astros fan, that were the Astros to sign Pujols, I would be in line the next day purchasing my Albert Pujols Astros Jersey.  The guy is a HUGE draw.  And I mean HUGE.  There are a few Major League Teams/Players I go out of my way to make sure I get to see live.  Tim Lincecum, Roy Halliday, anytime the Red Sox come to town, Hanley Ramirez, Johan Santana, etc.  I know you Baseball nuts think the same way.  Oh that’s right.  We get to see Albert Pujols.   In brick reds.  On a regular basis.  Not stomping us.  Which brings me to another point!  Why not sign the biggest Astro-killer in the MLB?  That’s what we call meta game.  Drayton McClane wants to sell his franchise?  Keep the payroll around $100-110 million.  That gives (aside from the $30 million) about $70-80 million of flexibility.  That’s not awful.  Now how about a marquee player, who may be on the course to break or set records?  What owner would not jump at the chance?  Like I said, the guy will put butts in seats.

7.)  It would REALLY hack off Cardinals fans.  And Cubs fans.  And Reds fans.  And Brewers fans.

I know I sound crazy, I have a hard time imagining the scenario myself.  I wholeheartedly believe that St. Louis will get their act together and re-sign him.  I believe in my heart of hearts that I would find it nearly impossible to root for the guy that soulcrushed the City of Houston in the Game that We Shall Not Speak Of.  I still get upset seeing YouTube videos of his towering shot off of Brad Lidge.  But man, think of how much fun it would be?  Don’t we all want to win?  It’s fun to dream though, isn’t it?

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