What a circus this week has been. With the St Louis Cardinals in town, clearly the topic on everybody’s mind was the potential interest the Cubs will have in first baseman Albert Pujols when he hits the market this winter. Those thoughts were exaggerated during the first game of the series between the Cubs and Cardinals as Cubs general manager Jim Hendry and Pujols exchanged what has been dubbed as “the hug seen around the world.” That hug between two good friends, fueled reports that Hendry may already be working on trying to sign the biggest potential free agent in MLB history–yeah, I said it.
Throughout all the mindless talk about a simple hug, one thing was missing, And that was that there is still no concrete evidence that the Cubs are even interested in Pujols. Granted it is an illogical statement to make because the Cubs will have a need at first base after the season and with a lot of money available, Pujols figures to be a potential target. But the Cubs are keeping on their best behavior–per MLB’s tampering rules–and not discussing in public the potential free agent to be.
However that does not mean that behind the scenes discussions are not taking place. When talking about a player like Albert Pujols, there is obvious a lot of preparation and planning that goes into making a run at the game’s best player. But the Cubs may already be taking themselves out of the sweepstakes before they even begin. According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, the Cubs may not be willing to “pony up” the $200 million it would cost to sign Pujols.
But that does not really say much. Because Heyman notes that there is no evidence that the Cubs would be willing to do such a thing, but that could go the other way as well. There is no evidence that the Cubs would not be willing to give at least $200 million to Pujols. After comments made by Tom Ricketts this season, it is fair to suggest that in the right situation the Cubs would be willing to make such a move. Pujols qualifies as being the right situation.
Lets go along with the idea that the Cubs do not want go with more than $200 million on Pujols. That does not mean they wont be interested in Pujols. For instance, the Cubs could very well offer Pujols something along the lines of 6 years for $180 million. That would be an ideal situation for both sides. The Cubs would not be going over $200 million, and Pujols would still be making $30 million a season. But whether or not Pujols would actually take that deal is a different story.
In the end all this speculation could very well be irrelevant, because the Cardinals–in my opinion–are not going to let Pujols leave St Louis. Meaning the Cubs would turn their efforts to Prince Fielder. But for now at least, there is no harm in dreaming.