The Cards slugger is going to land somewhere soon, here's a few different possibilities
Albert Pujols is dominating the MLB hot stove headlines right now. One of the greatest players in baseball history (who has never tested positive for steroids) is now a free agent and is testing the waters to haul in a giant payday. Reports have surfaced that the Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs have offered Pujols a 10-year deal.
I guess the Veterans' Committee, which can designate former players for Hall of Fame selection, feels like it needs to elect someone every year. At least that’s the way it seems. Today, the committee announced that Ron Santo, a longtime Chicago Cubs player then broadcaster, has been elected to the Hall of Fame. Santo was a terrific third baseman and clutch hitter. He meant so much to the game and the city of Chicago as a broadcaster after his retirement. But is he a Hall of Famer?
Not in my mind. However, if Phil Rizzuto and Bill Mazeroski have bronze plaques at Cooperstown, then Santo should as well. The problem? With each borderline player elected to the Hall, the membership becomes that much more diluted.
It seems more than fair for a player to be included on the BBWAA ballot for 15 years. If more than 25% of the BBWAA members shun a player for 15 years, you know, maybe he isn’t Hall of Fame caliber.
And the Veterans' Committee members aren’t the only ones to blame. As writers elect pitchers like Bert Blyleven, then Jack Morris and Tommy John become more viable candidates, and Jim Kaat, who just missed election by the committee by two votes, has an even stronger argument.
At some point, perhaps the Hall should acknowledge an official distinction between Ron Santo and Brooks Robinson. Between Bert Blyleven and Tom Seaver. Between Bill Mazeroski and Rogers Hornsby.
The 2011 World Series is evolving into one of the classic matchups in history. We’ve seen a 1-0 game through eight innings won in the ninth with two sac flies. We’ve seen a monumental blowout with Albert Pujols making history with three home runs. We’ve witnessed a young pitcher coming of age with a gem in Game 4 as Derek Holland shut down the Cardinals for 8+ innings. Baseball fans must be thrilled with this fall display.
Well, most fans. But there are some fans who are not enjoying the 2011 postseason.
All indications are that Hendry is one of the great guys in baseball. Honest. Hard-working. Compassionate.
But realistically, signing Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez to those contracts? And Carlos Silva?
Hendry’s tumultuous tenure with the Cubs comes to an end. He began his career with the Cubs in 1995 in Player Development, and had been the GM since midseason in 2002. Since that time the Cubs have been division winners, in last place, division winners again and had back-to-back fifth-place finishes in a six-team division.
Winners Philadelphia Phillies
After making a run at Carlos Beltran of the Mets, the Phillies acquired Hunter Pence (right) from Houston. It would have been a surprise had the Mets actually dealt with a division rival. It was also surprising that the Phillies focused their efforts on improving their lineup. They must believe getting Brad Lidge back will be enough to deepen their bullpen, which actually had been a strength this season despite being hit hard with injuries.
Strengthened their bullpen with two of the dominant setup men in the game in Mike Adams from San Diego and Koji Uehara from Baltimore. With closer Neftali Feliz set for the ninth inning, Adams and Uehara essential turn Texas games into 6-inning games. In the 95 innings the two have combined to pitch this season, they have 11 strikeouts and only 17 walks with a 1.42 ERA. As the rotation begins to tire, taking pressure off the starters to go deep into games should really bolster the staff. The Texas offense should continue to be no problem. These moves also give the Rangers a better chance to compete with New York and Boston in the playoffs. Right now, the Rangers might be favored in a series with either team.
The Braves traded youngster Jordan Schafer and two Double-AA starters to obtain the MLB steals leader Michael Bourn from Houston. With catcher Brian McCann out for significant time with a rib cage injury, the Braves desperately need to boost their lineup. Chipper Jones should return this week to improve the middle of the order, but Bourn provides a spark at the top of a lineup that will rely more on manufacturing runs. With a pitching staff that keeps the Braves in just about every game, using speed to put pressure on defenses will serve Atlanta well.
It may not be enough to finish off the deal in the AL Central, but acquiring Ubaldo Jimenez was a coup for the upstart Indians. If nothing else, the organization has convinced its fans that it is serious this season. Jimenez, who can be a horse atop the rotation for the stretch drive, is under contract for less than $10 million per season through 2014.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants were able to procure the bat they needed in the middle of their order in Carlos Beltran (right) without giving up multiple players. Blessed with young pitching, the organization felt it could part with Zack Wheeler, a top-50 type prospect currently at the Single-A level.
Suffering through the longest losing streak in franchise history as the trade deadline dawned, the Mariners had a few trading chips and landed lefthander Charlie Furbush and outfielder Casper Wells from the Tigers. Then the M’s received Trayvon Robinson from the Dodgers in a deal that sent Erik Bedard to the Red Sox. Seattle did not have to give up ace Felix Hernandez and improved its organization for the next 3-5 years.
Obviously going nowhere this season, the Orioles parted ways with veteran Derrek Lee and setup man Koji Uehara. In return, the Orioles received Chris Davis, who they believe will be their first baseman of the future and Tommy Hunter, who could become their ace next season. Baltimore now has talented young players at just about every position as well as some young talent in the rotation. The future really is getting brighter in Baltimore.
Having traded or demoted five of the eight Opening Day starters this season, the Astros appear several years from seeing any fruits of their rebuilding efforts. At the same time, there is currently not enough continuity for fans to hang onto. Expect a few more seasons hitting the century mark in losses.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels don’t exactly have the meat in the lineup or the depth in the bullpen to compete with the Rangers. By standing pat, it’s almost as if the Angels are giving up. Not a great message to fans. In its defense, the organization doesn’t want to do anything to compromise the future to take what could be a long shot to win in 2011.
Long out of the race and burdened with a roster filled with veterans with huge contracts, the Cubs were unable to accelerate any rebuilding process by trading veterans for youngsters. Carlos Zambrano was available, but there were no takers. The only two significant trading chips — Marlon Byrd, who has been injured, and closer Carlos Marmol — apparently weren’t discussed at a high level. The Cubs were able to unload Kosuke Fukudome as a salary dump to the Indians, but received very little in return.
Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him at Charlie.Miller@AthlonSports.com.
Which MLB teams have spent the smartest over the last ten years?
“You’ve got to spend money to make money.” It’s a phrase that’s made millions of businesspeople rich. It’s also a motto that’s had millions of others moving back in with their parents, or possibly into refrigerator boxes.