What a week it has been. Riley Pint has returned and so has Major League Baseball. With the ratification of the new CBA, the 99 day stasis of off-season activity thawed and teams were free to transact again. The first player off the board was…Drew VerHagen on a modest two-year pact with the Cardinals after previously pitching in Japan. Not a splash, but at least a start.
The first big moves did impact the NL West, however, as Carlos Rodón inked a two-year agreement with the San Francisco Giants, effectively replacing the departed Kevin Gausman and providing the Bay Area squad with an ace-caliber lefty for their rotation while Clayton Kershaw re-signed with LA. The Rockies - who have plenty of needs on the roster to fill - have yet to make an acquisition but are being floated around as a potential suitor for a rather prominent name:
That’s…an interesting rumor. The Colorado Rockies are certainly no stranger to the veteran bench bat addition and Albert Pujols certainly fits that mold. After finally ending his tenure with the Los Angeles Angels in May of last year, Pujols moved his bat across town to appear in 85 games with the Dodgers in a platoon role. In all, he put up a .236/.284/.433 line with 17 homers in 109 games for the season.
Now, the Rockies are flirting with the idea of acquiring the future Hall of Famer in what could easily be their biggest splash in market that is still headlined by reasonable targets like Nicholas Castellanos, Kris Bryant, Michael Conforto, Kyle Schwarber and Seiya Suzuki. But does it make sense? Let’s look at the positives and the negatives of the possible acquisition.
Pro: Marketing and the chase for 700
It doesn’t matter where he goes, adding Albert Pujols is a big deal from a public relations standpoint for any franchise. His peak years in St. Louis are long gone, but his résumé is one of the most accomplished in the history of the game and that rightfully garners attention as long as he is still playing.
Plus he currently sits 21 home runs away from becoming just the fourth player to reach the 700 home run milestone in baseball history. It’s tough to expect him to clear that bar this season, but it’s not out of the question, either.
For a franchise interested in finding some positive publicity to sell to it’s fans - which the Rockies certainly are - it doesn’t get much better than Albert Pujols.
Con: The expectations in performance
Did I mention Cardinals’ Pujols is long gone? A drop in performance is expected for every player, but Pujols’ decline has been a bit hard to watch. Since 2016, Pujols has posted just one positive fWAR season and owns an overall -2.5 figure for those six seasons.
Oh, and he just turned 42 years old in January.
To be fair, he was better in his time with the Dodgers last season and even posted a respectable 101 OPS+ in his 85 games in the white and blue. That was the first time he cleared that bar since 2016, though. An argument could be made that the success was attributed to the organization’s usage of the veteran star and that could be emulated in Colorado to a successful degree. But if you're taking bets on which Los Angeles hitter you get with Pujols, it’s hard not to bank on the one we saw the Angels.
Pro: The universal DH and Coors Field
This is more of an advantage for the player than the team. The implementation of the designated hitter in the National League essentially doubles the pool of potential suitors for veteran bats that come with serious defensive limitations, and Pujols is in that boat.
From a career standpoint, it’s hard to pick a better spot to pad some stats than one of the best hitter’s parks in the world without the concerns of defensive responsibilities.
Con: The fit on the roster
C.J. Cron, Ryan McMahon, Connor Joe and Colton Welker. That’s the current depth chart just at first base. Plate appearances are already at a premium for guys like Joe and Welker and when you get into the DH conversation we have to start considering the glut of outfielders - Charlie Blackmon, Raimel Tapia, Yonathan Daza and Sam Hilliard - that will likely join the aforementioned group in the rotation at the position. Add in the presumed future playing time for Ryan Vilade and Elehuris Montero and that’s a lot bats for not enough spots.
Simply put, the Rockies already have a logjam of hitters on the roster and adding Pujols into the equation could only add to the problem.
As a general baseball fan in Colorado, it would be at least a little fun to see Pujols in the purple pinstripes. But for most it’s more fun to see the team move closer to contention, and it’s hard to see how much Pujols will move that needle.
Many could be tempered in their expectations and figure the novelty of the addition and the possibility of a pleasant surprise in his performance worthwhile for an otherwise gloomy outlook on the upcoming season. Others could sit on the opposite side of the spectrum and resent a move that can be hard to find optimistic.
Where do you fall in the discussion?
Are you in favor the Rockies signing Albert Pujols?
This poll is closed
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Thomas Harding breaks ground on his 2022 Spring Training coverage from Salt River Field. Harding gets Ryan McMahon’s perspective on the excitement the players are feeling about finally getting back to baseball and their feelings on the newly ratified CBA. He also speaks with GM Bill Schmidt on the organization’s outlook for the remainder of the off-season and their preparation for the 2022 regular season:
“We’re looking to try to get better,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. I don’t know how it’s going to play out. We’re going to make attempts.”
Lastly, the possibility of re-signing Trevor Story is discussed. With the haste of the market factoring into player’s decisions, the thought among many is that pursuing Story is worth another shot. Harding does point out that while Schmidt has never expressed all hope is lost on that front, a lower priced defensive free-agent appears to be a better fit for the payroll.
Speaking of lower priced, defensive free agent options, the Cubs signing of Andrelton Simmons to a one-year deal takes another possible piece off the board for Colorado. With both Simmons and Freddy Galvis now signed elsewhere, only José Iglesias remains available from the free agnt group many have speculated the Rockies to be involved in.
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