Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Bowden's Bullets: Pujols chase ending?
By By Jim Bowden
Where will Albert Pujols land? Will it be Florida or will he remain in St. Louis?
At the time of this posting, the Albert Pujols mega-bidding war reached its zenith just past midnight early Wednesday morning. The Miami Marlins made a 10-year offer that was so complicated it required the attention of Dan Halem, MLB's senior vice president and general counsel, for his sign-off on some new concepts the Marlins engineered in the “special covenants” portion of the offer.
• The St. Louis Cardinals, facing the possibility of losing Pujols, increased their offer from last January. It is believed to match the 10-year length of the Marlins' offer but at substantially less money. The Pujols situation has a pretty good chance of getting resolved sometime Wednesday morning, with the Cardinals remaining the favorite for Pujols’ services.
• Mark Buehrle narrowed his list from 14 to five teams; the Rangers, Nationals and Marlins are acknowledged as three of those teams. The Cardinals could also be one of the teams if they lose Pujols to the Marlins. It is believed the Washington Nationals will try to separate themselves by giving in on a fourth year either as an option or a guaranteed year. The Rangers quietly believe they have a real shot at Buehrle if C.J. Wilson decides to leave them. The Marlins are not willing to include a no-trade clause for Buehrle, and that could end up being a deal buster.
• The biggest trade of the day involved the Toronto Blue Jays acquiring Sergio Santos , a relatively inexpensive closer from the Chicago White Sox, for minor-league starting pitcher Nestor Molina. Ironically, both are converted infielders. Santos has off-the-charts makeup with a powerful fastball and improving secondary pitches and gives the Jays a solid closer without having to pay premium closer money. Molina projects as a fourth starter with four average pitches, including a strikeout split-finger. His best trait is command and control, and he knows how to get to a 0-2 count in a hurry. Still, with Santos under club control for six more years, this was a good move for Jays GM Alex Anthopoulous.
• Wilson is at the top of the list for the Los Angeles Angels, but like most of the clubs that have been in play for Wilson, they have found the asking price to be outrageous. At some point Wilson’s agent, Bob Garber, will have to look at the real offers, lower his sights and come ready to make a real deal. It's clear that Wilson would love to either end up with the Angels or return to the Rangers.
• The Jose Reyes-less Mets were extremely active just one day after losing the shortstop to the Marlins via free agency. Earlier in the day, Terry Collins told me on my SiriusXM radio show the Mets were concentrating on fixing the bullpen in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings rather than addressing the closer’s role. Collins also said Angel Pagan had become the team’s new leadoff hitter. Several hours later, the Mets lost a second leadoff hitter in two days when they shipped Pagan to the San Francisco Giants for reliever Ramon Ramirez and centerfielder Andres Torres.
• The New York Mets collected relievers like they were going out of style. Ramirez actually was the third reliever acquired on the day. Earlier, they signed Jon Rauch to a one-year, $3.5 million deal and Frank Francisco to a two-year, $12 million deal. In just a few hours, the Mets suddenly had a much-improved and respectable bullpen, and had acquired a quality center fielder who would serve as the Mets’ third leadoff hitter in three days. The Mets are betting Torres can bounce back to be the player who helped the Giants win a World Series as their table setter in 2010.
• The Brewers are expected to re-sign Takashi Saito to a one-year deal. He's not getting a multi-year deal because he continues to pitch without a ligament in his throwing elbow.