With the signing of Prince Fielder, is Detroit the new favorite in the AL?
By Cam Cain 1-27-12
In an offseason of surprises like Albert Pujols joining the Angels, this is up there as one of those shockers. The nine year deal is reportedly worth 214 million dollars. Only a few thought Fielder was heading anywhere other than Arlington, Miami, or the capitol. Then, Texas signed Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Now all was left was the built-to-win-today Marlins and the built-to-win-in-two-or-three-years Nats. But he chose to head to the Motor City, already the heavy favorites in the Central. I was confused for a while about this one. Then, it hit me. Fielder’s dad, Cecil, played at the old Tiger Stadium for 6 1/2 years, the best of his career, making three allstar teams and hitting 51 home runs in 1990. It was there that young Prince learned the game, hitting monster shots over the fence as a teenager. And the fans sure remember him. The Prince was merely heading home, albeit to a different castle.
So, who does this affect?
This loss, as inevitable as it was, is a tough one to swallow. Especially if Ryan Braun’s appeal of his 50 game suspension for allegedly taking performance enhancing drugs is denied. This is a huge step back for Milwaukee who has not made any big signings or trades so far.
The Cardinals benefit from this deal. This could possibly put this young team into the playoffs with a wild card spot. Besides, they won the World Series despite Adam Wainwright not pitching a single inning due to injury.
Despite peaking in July and struggling towards the end of the year and finishing below .500, don’t count out the Pirates as a dark horse candidate.
This puts the Reds over the top. They have so much young talent including power hitting right fielder Jay Bruce, and speedy center fielder Drew Stubbs. They signed closer Ryan Madson, who saved 32 games for Philadelphia. They also made a statement by trading away Edinson Volquez and first base prospect Yonder Alonso for pitcher Mat Latos of the Padres. This told the fans that they are willing to keep superstar Joey Votto and this is exactly what they needed. Their only worry in the division is St. Louis. The Reds hope they pull a long term Indianapolis Colts, struggling after losing the face of their franchise. Either way, the Reds are the favorites in the Central, if not the NL.
This team is strong from top to bottom. Despite losing Victor Martinez for probably the season, they will likely move Miguel Cabrera to DH. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Doug Fister are at the top of the rotation and all have had success. Also, Alex Avila is a rising star behind the plate and had 85 RBIs last season at age 24. They are my early pick for the World Series.
Pujols signs near-record deal with Angels
By Cam Cain 12-8-11
Well, Albert Pujols has officially signed with a team. And it’s not the Cardinals or the Marlins. Not even Theo Epstein’s Cubs. Nope. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (phew that’s a mouthful) have swooped up out of nowhere and signed the superstar to a 10-year-deal worth reportedly $254 million. This news comes much sooner than expected as the Winter Meetings in Dallas. are only a couple days in. You can make a strong case for him as the greatest first baseman of all time. That’s saying something since he plays the same position as did Gehrig and Foxx. He is a three time MVP but has also won 2 Gold Gloves. Only once has Pujols “failed” to hit 35 or more Home Runs. 2007 was the only year in which he didn’t. He hit 32. Following that year, Pujols won back-to-back MVPs. He also has a career batting average of .328, first among active players, as well as 455 career home runs, or 42 per 162 games.
So here we see another example of a star leaving his team for a load of money. Like A-Rod in the offseason before 2004 leaving the Rangers to head to Steinbrenner’s Yankees.
So what does this deal mean to the other teams?
First they will have to deal with the shock of losing their franchise player who they’ve had since 2001. But they won the World Series for reasons besides only Big Albert. They’re not just a one-dimensional team. They will definitely be crippled, especially with first year manager Mike Matheny, who has never managed at any level.
Sure, they missed out on the big free agent prize but Prince Fielder is still out there. They don’t even need a first baseman anyway with 2011 All Star Gaby Sanchez playing the position. They are still the big free agent getters this offseason with Shortstop Jose Reyes and closer Heath Bell. They also signed pitcher Mark Buehrle. Buehrle played under Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen on the White Sox. I think Miami will be just fine without Pujols.
Reds and Brewers:
Both of these teams are in a great position. The Reds are hoping that the Brewers lose Prince Fielder so that they could have a clear path with their talented youth. They have also shot down Joey Votto trade rumors several times. The Brewers have the best team now and could be ready for a deep run.
Of course the Angels themselves:
These 2 additions have strongly boosted the Angels. There have been rumors of trading Rookie of the Year candidate Mark Trumbo who is a first baseman. The signing of pitcher C.J. Wilson from the rival Rangers has boosted an already superb rotation which already included Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. Is it too early to slap on the Dream Team tag?
NOTE: This photo is not mine. Statistics from baseballreference.com
October 9th 1919:
Reds win Game 8 of the best-of-nine World Series vs. Chicago 10-5 and they win the series. It is later discovered that the White Sox threw the World Series for money and 8 players were banned for life form the game, although it was later discovered one was innocent.
October 9th 1938:
The Yankees beat the Chicago Cubs 8-3 and sweep them in the World Series. This was New York’s third consecutive title.
October 9th 1957:
Pitching on 2 days rest due to Warren Spahn catching the flu, Milwaukee Braves pitcher Lew Burdette throws his second complete game shutout of the series en route to a 5-0 Game 7 win.
October 9th 1966:
Dave McNally of the Baltimore Orioles pitches a 4-hit shutout in a 1-0 series clinching win and sweep of the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers.Baltimore pitchers had pitched a record-setting 33 consecutive scoreless innings.