In a winter with no interesting rumors or speculation involving the Mets, let’s chew on this for a bit — Albert Pujols to the Mets! Many writers are theorizing that it could happen.
Pujols’s contract expires after this season. His people and the Cardinals are trying to negotiating a new deal, with Pujols reportedly asking for an A-Rod type deal along the lines of 10-years, $300 million. The Cards apparently don’t want to pay that much, so talks have stalled. Pujols has said he will end negotiations once spring training starts, so St. Louis has about a month to tie-up Pujols or he hits free agency following the season.
Why the Mets? Well, the usual suspects for such a big ticket item — the Yankees and the Red Sox — are set at first (then again, the Yankees were set at shortstop when they traded for Alex Rodriguez. But let’s not think about that). The only other teams that could likely afford Pujols would be the Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, and yes, the Mets. And since the Mets are shedding so much payroll after the season, they are the focus of the speculation.
Now, I don’t think Pujols is going anywhere. I think he will eventually reach a deal with the Cards. But let’s dream.
The Mets are dumping about $60 million in salary, leaving around $60 million guaranteed for 2012. Let’s set the 2012 payroll at a reasonable $120 million. If they resign Jose Reyes for $10 million, that brings the total to $70 million. Add in $30 million for Pujols, and we’re up to $100. That leaves $20 million to spend on a new right fielder, closer and starter. That’s doable. And if one or more of their young guys can step up and fill the holes, so much the better.
So it is possible to fit Pujols into the Mets budget. As far as the promising Ike Davis, asked off-air after appearing on a WFAN show if he would switch positions if the Mets got Pujols, he reportedly said, “I’d be a bleeping middle reliever to get Albert.”
So it would be great if Davis could play right. If not, he could be trade bait for a front-line starter if he has another solid year. It would be sad to see the fan favorite go, but I don’t think we would miss him all that much if the current best player in baseball, and potentially the best player ever, is wearing a Mets uniform.