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Fantasy Baseball 2011: Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Michael Young and Other Offseason Thoughts

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JUPITER FL - FEBRUARY 17: Albert Pujols #5 #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals catches a ball during infield preactice at Roger Dean Stadium on February 17 2011 in Jupiter Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
JUPITER FL - FEBRUARY 17: Albert Pujols #5 #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals catches a ball during infield preactice at Roger Dean Stadium on February 17 2011 in Jupiter Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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Well, the Cardinals did what many thought, including me, they wouldn't do. They did not sign Albert Pujols to an extension. In fact, the rumored offer of 9 or 10 years at just over $200 million is a slap in the face of the best hitter in baseball, and one of the best hitters we have all seen play the game. If they did not plan on signing him long term, why did they sign Matt Holliday last offseason? To me, if they don't eventually sign Pujols, GM John Mozeliak should be canned, and the ownership owes their fans an apology. 

Think about this. If they don't sign Pujols next offseason, they get two draft picks. Two draft picks for the best player we have seen in some time. Maybe they can talk Pujols into not vetoing a deal and try to get more for him before he leaves via free agency. If not, this team has 3 guys you want to go to the ballpark to see play-Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus...well, when Tony Larussa actually puts him in the lineup.

More after the jump:

In case you didn't hear, Miguel Cabrera was stopped for DUI on Wednesday night, and reportedly liked the bottle of scotch he was drinking so much that he took a swig right in front of the police officer. Of greater concern is there is a chance he may miss part of the regular season if he enters another rehab program, which he should do. Its ashame, but the Tigers are paying this guy plenty of coin to hit a baseball, and if they have to worry about him going out on the town and drinking away his problems, that hurts himself and the team. And your fantasy team. We should hear more about the repercussions of his actions in the next few days. 

The Blue Jays signed third baseman Jose Bautista to a 5 year, $64 million contract on Wednesday. Why? Maybe his 2010 season wasn't a fluke, but I am not buying it. Sure, he could hit 30 or more HRs this season, but he will have to prove it to me first. 

The Diamondbacks signed Russell Branyan to a minor league deal on Wednesday and invited him to spring training. One wonders if he will be manning first base for the Dbacks with his competition coming from Juan Miranda and Brandon Allen. New GM Kevin Towers likes veterans and Branyan fits the description. We'll keep you updated should Branyan appear to leading the first base battle in Arizona.

What the heck happened to Brandon Allen? The guy improved his eye at the plate in 2010 and it still appears he is headed back to AAA. This from Nick Piecoro at the Arizona Republic:

 

The signing appears to be another indication that the Diamondbacks do not believe in Allen, who was acquired by the previous regime and at one time was viewed as a potential first baseman of the future.

 

How soon before Allen is traded?

The White Sox announced on Thursday that pitching prospect Chris Sale will start the season in the bullpen and many are curious if he will close or setup for Matt Thornton. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he prefers Matt Thornton in the closer role, fwiw. But fantasy owners should watch this battle closely in spring training.

Getting back to Pujols, SB Nation's own Rob Neyer had this to say when he heard about the Cards rumored offer of $20-21 million per year:

 

If true, there are three possibilities:

1. For some reason, management really thought it would be fun to insult Pujols and aggravate his agent, or

2. the club's really not all that interested in retaining Pujols' services after this season, or

3. the Cardinals really don't believe that Pujols just turned 31.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I just can't think of another reason why they would even bother to offer $20 million to a player who is so obviously worth at least $30 million, both on the field and on the open market.

This is the third time Neyer has questioned Pujols age. Something to ponder in December when he signs his new deal.

Don't be surprised if the Marlins eventually turn to recently acquired reliever Michael Dunn as their closer. This from Juan Rodriguez from the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

The Marlins by no means see him as a lefty specialist. Look for Dunn to pitch meaningful innings late in games and even get a shot at closing should Leo Nunez falter.

There you go. Draft accordingly.

 

Michael Young is expected to report to the Rangers camp on Saturday. I have a feeling we will be hearing about a deal in the next few days. Just a hunch.

Is it possible for Mike Stanton to hit 40 HRs this season? He could, should he cut down on the strikeouts, as the power is real. I watched alot of his games last season, saw him hit a line drive against the DBacks, and the ball hit the left field wall is a nano-second. DBacks color guy Mark Grace was shocked at how hard he hit the ball.