Wisch: Would Albert Pujols Really Consider The Cubs?

By Dave Wischnowsky–

Imagine Superman signing on as the official spokesman for Kryptonite tights.

Then imagine Albert Pujols putting on Cubs pinstripes.

What’s less likely?

Jaded Chicagoans might consider seeing Kal-El donning green more fathomable than catching sight of Big Al in blue, but depending on the dollars, nothing – not in professional sports – is out of the question.

And that includes Albert Pujols in the home dugout at Wrigley Field.

Late Tuesday night, the Cubs announced that they had filled their hole at first base with free agent slugger Carlos Pena, but only for one year. That short-team deal quickly led to breathless speculation in parts of Chicago that the Cubs are eventually coming after Pujols, whose contract with St. Louis runs out this season.

So, are they?

Well, who knows right now. But, if Jim Hendry & Co. indeed do have Pujols in their sights, then the curious one-year pact given to Pena would certainly make a lot more sense.

Conversely, on Wednesday afternoon, one of my friends – a White Sox fan – found no sense at all in the notion of Pujols joining the Cubs. He asked on his Facebook page why anyone would think that the Cardinals’ living legend would want to relocate to the North Side of Chicago.

But I asked, why wouldn’t he? Simply because he’s a Cardinal? My guess is that Pujols, just like most professional athletes, likely loves money more than he loves his franchise – or hates a rival one.

(Michael Barrett, for example, didn’t punch A.J. Pierzynski four years ago because Pierzynski played for the White Sox. Barrett punched him because he’s A.J. Pierzynski.)

Now, Pujols’ heart very well might be in St. Louis, but I think he’d strongly consider a change of it if another team offered him considerably more cash to do so.

Even if that team is the Cubs.

On Tuesday, SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported that Pujols is seeking “A-Rod money” after 2011. It’s unclear if that means he wants a 10-year contract worth $275 million – the deal that Rodriguez inked in 2007 with the Yankees – or if it means he wants a similar annual salary.

Pujols turns 31 years old next month, so any team offering him a 10-year contract 12 months from now will be pushing its luck once Albert starts pushing 40. However, it’s been reported that the Cardinals likely will be willing to offer Pujols a seven-year deal with a $27.5 million annual salary. That comes out to a $192.5 million commitment.

Now, for the sake of argument, what if the Cubs countered with an eight-year offer worth $220 million (still a $27.5 million average)? Cardinals icon or not, do you think Pujols would just laugh and immediately turn that down?

I’m pretty sure that, at the very least, he’d think long and hard about it. And Pujols very well might bite. Don’t kid yourself, pros play to get paid, and when a contract is the last big one that a star will sign – as Pujols’ next one will be – he wants it to be as big as possible.

Lest you think the Cubs won’t have the cash to even consider such a proposal to Pujols, first consider this: With the Pena signing, the Cubs now have six players (Pena, Kosuke Fukudome, John Grabow, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Silva and Jeff Samardzija) whose contracts – totaling $54,650,000 – can come off the books after 2011. The Cubs own a club option for Samardzija in ’12 and ’13, while Ramirez and Silva both have mutual options for 2012.

Jim Hendry will have a lot of money to play around with next December at the winter meetings in Dallas. And I’m not saying that Albert Pujols will be the one who decides to play with it. I’m just not willing to say he won’t be, either.

Stranger things have happened. And, with the Pena deal, you have to figure that Jim Hendry has to have some kind of plan in place. If, in fact, it is one that does manage to pry Pujols out of Missouri, then come next December crestfallen Cardinals fans might have to start referring to their team by a different nickname.

The St. Louis Blues.

davewisch Wisch: Would Albert Pujols Really Consider The Cubs?

Dave Wischnowsky

If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com.

  • Dave Wischnowsky

    Just as an FYI, in 80 career games at Wrigley, Pujols has 25 homers and 64 RBI.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    yeah, let me know when hell freezes over, pujols? i don’t think so.

    by the way, i went to driving school in 1999 with ‘less likely’.

  • D from Joliet

    I think its more likely Hendry will go after Prince Fielder, who will also be a free agent.

    • Dave Wischnowsky

      Fielder also is a definite possibility, D. I would just think that with the one-year deal for Pena, he has his sights set on a big-fish first baseman next offseason. Could be Pujols he desires, could be Fielder, or it could be that Hendry has no plan at all.

  • Beverly Brewmaster

    I doubt Pujols will end up playing 81 games at Wrigley, but anybody who thinks he wouldn’t come to Chicago simply because he’s currently a Cardinal is an idiot. Professional athletes aren’t fans… Leaving one team for another is simply leaving one job for another, and it’s something that people (including athletes) do all the time.

  • the hole in Adolfo Soriano's gold glove

    If Hendry is still ringmaster of the circus I expect him to sign Mark Kotsay to a 10-year, $150 million deal. If he can’t talk Billy Buckner out of retirement.

  • Kat M.

    Dreams Dreams. I love Pujols. But I’m a city girl in her 20 somethings and I probably have a different view on Pujols as the rest of you strapping men. But I know he is good, better than good and he is something that could make this team good ( although I think we r good, just cursed). But really, I don’t think we have that kind of money. Again, in my world it would be wonderful. Pujols, Ramierez, Soto . . . .But highly unlikely. I’ll just keep dreaming. FYI: I have been brought up a Cub fan and its a sin in my family to mention the Sox or Cardinals. So I hope dad dosen’t see this!!!

  • Bob Smith

    Albert Pujols isn’t a loser. No Major League player of his caliber would even remotely consider playing for the Cubs. Jim Hendry is clueless, as his signing of Carlos Pena merely reconfirmed. And Mike Quade over Joe Girardi and Ryne Sandberg? MORON ALERT: Quade had that stellar record down the stretch because Carlos Zambrano went 7-0. Quade is going to be a really nice .500 manager (maybe) over the next three years. The Cubs are the most pathetic franchise in the history of professional sports. That sums it up. And anybody who roots for them has no life, no hope, and no future. Albert Pujols HAS a future – and it isn’t with the Cubs.

    • Bryan Black

      I’m glad you associate all Cubs fans with being failures in life, and having no hopes and dreams. Maybe we root for them because we like rooting for underdogs. Maybe we don’t like to root for an arrogant fan base. Maybe we are who we are and it has nothing to do with the history of the team we choose. So while you spout your hate filled anger at people you don’t know, I hope you have a good day nonetheless.

  • http://allwineclub.com/sake/lastest-sake-news-106.html Lastest Sake News – All Wine Club

    […] 0 CommentsMonday • December 13, 2010 • by admin Wisch: Would Albert Pujols Really Consider The Cubs? Imagine Superman signing on as the official spokesman for Kryptonite tights. Then imagine Albert Pujols putting on Cubs pinstripes. What’s less likely? Read more on CBS Chicago […]

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