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Fantasy Baseball Thoughts: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Aramis Ramirez and More

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Yesterday, we got the day after reactions to the Angels signing Albert Pujols on Thursday, and Thursday was the Cardinals "date that will live in infamy", as the Cardinals owners allowed the best player in franchise history walk away via free agency with nothing to show for it. Well, I take that back. They did win a few World Series, but Pujols leaving will make many fans forget they just beat the Rangers in the World Series.

Apparently, Pujols and the Cardinals front office had not seen eye to eye for a few years, and Pujols wanted to get paid for his remarkable performance over the last 11 years in St.Louis, and who can blame him. I might rank him lower than other fantasy writers, and maybe I am sticking my neck out there, but Pujols is still one the best hitters in baseball and we won't see another hitter like him for quite some time. Well, until Bryce Harper makes it to the big leagues, right Nationals fans?

What can fantasy owners expect out of King Albert in 2012? He might hit for a bit more power as the Angels stadium, which is actually called Angels Stadium, is more of a hitters park than Busch Stadium. But, he will also play a bunch of games in the two pitchers parks in Oakland and Seattle, and he isn't getting any younger. The Angels will be smart to let him DH once a week during the summer to save him as they did just give him a 10 year contract. I have to say, the Angels are not only stealing the "Los Angeles" from the Dodgers, they copied the stadium naming convention from the Dodgers as well. Oh, and they stole Mike Scioscia from the Dodgers too.

So, now that Pujols has gone and left the Cardinals, the Cardinals will move Lance Berkman to his more natural first base spot, and Allen Craig in right field. Craig had knee surgery this week and there is talk he may miss the start of the 2012 season. So, will the Cardinals respond to Pujols leaving by signing someone like Prince Fielder or Carlos Beltran? I could see them going after Beltran to play right field. This would allow them to let Craig come back slowly, and he could eventually replace Berkman at first base in 2013. There is also talk of Rafael Furcal signing with the Cardinals, which makes sense, but anything longer than a one year deal would be silly, as Furcal is injury prone. Just ask Dodgers fans.

More fantasy baseball thoughts after the jump:

I read yesterday that the Giants are planning on sending prospect Brandon Belt to AAA to start the season in 2012. What a mess that Giants front office is. You have your best prospect spend time in AAA when everyone knows he is ready. Nice job Sabean. Have fun locking up Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum.

So, the consensus is that third baseman Aramis Ramirez will probably sign with the Brewers, that is if you believe Tom Haudricourt, from the Milwaukee Journal - Sentinel:

I fully expect to re-engage talks next week with 3B Aramis Ramirez. I still think good chance they will sign him.

I think this is a good move for the Brewers, assuming they do sign him, as Ramirez can do a decent job replacing Fielder. I assume this would mean Casey McGehee will be traded or non-tendered when Aramis signs. I can see Ramirez hitting well in Miller Park, as it played as a much better hitters park than Wrigley Field in 2011. The HR factor at Miller Park was 1.062 in 2011 vs .987 at Wrigley Field.

With Albert Pujols moving to the AL and Prince Fielder leaving the NL Central, I think.....would it make sense to draft pitchers in the NL Central? First off, the division is losing Pujols and Fielder. Secondly, the Astros are bad. Third, the Cubs may not be far behind the Astros. See where I am going with this? So, who are the starting pitchers to target? Guys like Adam Wainwright, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo, Chris Carpenter, Matt Garza could be bumped a notch or two in your starting pitcher rankings. We will address sleeper candidates in the new year.

Getting back to Fielder, I can see him signing with the Rangers. He makes a lot of sense right now as they may decide to respond to the Angels signing of Pujols, by signing Fielder. And maybe Yu Darvish as well. It certainly would not surprise me. But, I have a feeling that Fielder's agent Scott Boras will delay getting Fielder signed till mid-late January. Boras did the same with Matt Holliday a few years ago, and could do the same with Fielder. Waiting till January gives teams on the fence time to see how season ticket sales are going before committing to a long term contract.

I was listening to Inside Pitch with Casey Stern and Jim Bowden last night, and Bowden ran through the list of teams that could get involved in signing Fielder. One team he mentioned was the Dodgers. Yes, the Dodgers. I have a feeling that MLB may have a good idea as to who will buy the team sometime in January, and the new owner may want to make huge splash by signing Fielder. <Ray wakes up from dream>