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MLB Trade Rumors: Should the Rangers Pursue Albert Pujols?

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Is Albert saying goodbye?
Is Albert saying goodbye?

Last Wednesday, ESPN's Buster Olney wrote the following regarding the Rangers possibly targeting Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols this offseason:

The Rangers could bid for Pujols

"It will be fascinating because it feels like we're hearing more and seeing more that the Texas Rangers, at some point this fall, are probably going to be major players for one of the big-time free agents, and you wonder if Albert will be that guy. How far would they push the Cardinals in the offer they (may) make?"

Well, if we are to believe this excerpt from Sunday's St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Rangers may not be bidding against the Cardinals:

Club chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and Mozeliak told the Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss during the World Series that the team had a desire to maintain payroll at its current level -- about $110 million.

That would suggest the club is unlikely to dramatically enhance its January bid for Pujols of nine years for $198 million-$205 million, or a yearly average of $22 million to $22.75 million.

So the team that just won the World Series is going to walk away from one of the best players in the game? A slam dunk future Hall of Famer? I find that surprising, but if the Cardinals do allow Pujols to walk, it will certainly be the biggest offseason story.

More on the Rangers pursuing Albert Pujols after the jump:

Before I get into why this would make sense for Pujols and the Rangers, I will say that I will be very surprised to see Pujols leave St. Louis after winning his second World Series. But, from time to time this season, we have heard that he wants to get paid as the best player in baseball. I can't blame him. He has been grossly underpaid in his career, and he wants his. And he deserves it. But, the Cardinals appear to not be willing to raise their offer from last season.

So why would the Rangers go out and sign Pujols? Well, I think they need an ace starting pitcher, but they could accomplish that via a trade, but that is an idea for another article for another day.

First off, signing Pujols would give the Rangers a first baseman they can write in their lineup card everyday. Mitch Moreland is ok, but he isn't your typical first baseman who hits for power. Moreland, and his .414 slugging percentage, is not an everyday first baseman for me.

Secondly, signing Pujols allows the team to "rest" him once a week by DH'ing him. They could DH him around once a week, maybe twice during the extremely hot months in July and August, and as a result, could allow Pujols to rest his nagging injuries and make him more productive over the length of his contract.

Thirdly, making the Ballpark at Arlington his home for 81 games per season, Pujols could have a legitimate shot at breaking the MLB home run record. Baseball would love to see someone take the home run record from Barry Bonds, and Albert Pujols is just the guy to do it.

Finally, after game 7 was over, Chris Berman from ESPN was interviewing Pujols, and at one point, I think toward the end of the interview, Berman motioned to all the Cardinal fans who stayed and were watching the interview, saying something to the affect of "will we see you here next season?". I can't remember exactly the question Berman asked, but Pujols responded by putting his head down, as if he had already made his decision to leave, and he didn't want to face the loyal Cardinal fans. Maybe I misread his reaction to Berman's question, but that was my first thought when I was watching the interview.

I am sure we will hear plenty of teams rumored to be interested in Pujols this offseason, and the Rangers very well could be one of those teams, especially with the Yankees and Red Sox "supposedly" not in the market to sign Pujols. I say supposedly because I am sure both Brian Cashman and Ben Cherington are trying to figure out if they can afford Pujols, and where they would play him, especially when they both have all star first baseman already in their lineups.

This offseason is assured to be filled with plenty of rumors and the Albert Pujols rumors will dominate the baseball news until he is signed.