All teams have had pitchers and catchers report and some even have position players rolling into camp. We are only a week into camp and baseball writers have had a lot to write about, with most of it not even related to anything going on, on the field. This week’s hot topics included Albert Pujols’ contract or lack there of, Miguel Cabrera’s DUI, Gary Sheffield and Jim Edmonds calling it quits, Jose Bautista getting a big fat contract extension from Toronto, and the Met’s Madoff saga continuing.
Albert “The Machine” Pujols has one year left on his current contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. He set the deadline of this past Wednesday at noon to work out an extension. He says once camp starts he wants no outside distractions which includes extension talks. None of us can be really sure what he is after or what the Cardinals actually offered him. Most are saying he is looking for a contract that tops the one ARod got from the Yankees after the 2007 season when he opted out of his deal; something in the 10 year, 300 million dollar range. The Cards seem to have a problem giving 10 years to a player already on the wrong side of 30 even though he is easily the best player in the game. Reports, which “may be false” have had a contract somewhere in the 8-9 year range but the dollar value not close to the 300 million dollar request. He is a priceless commodity for St. Louis(granted he would be for any team in the bigs) and the bank should be broken for him when he hits free agency this winter.
Pujols may be the only player in the League who is more feared offensively than the Detroit Tiger first baseman, Miguel Cabrera. It was not Miguel’s bat that made headlines this week because well, Tigers position players just started reporting to camp. Cabrera received a DUI in Florida and was arrested for resisting arrest. He even took a swig of scotch from the bottle right in front of the cop. Last season Miggy Cabs said he got his life together(as we all remember the 2009 incident before game 163) and had quite possibly the best year of his career. If Detroit did not fall apart in the second half last year he would have been the American League MVP. It appears as though Miguel will enter some sort of 30 day alcohol program to try to get his problem back under control and could be available and in the lineup on Opening Day against the Yankees in the Bronx. Personally, I am a huge Miguel Cabrera fan and believe he is one of the greatest hitters of this era. Not to mention, the fact that he was a huge piece on my 2010 Fantasy Baseball Keeper League championship team and my key keeper for the 2011 season. I’m very confident that Cabrera will get it back together and come back mashing just as he always has since his days with the Marlins.
While I am on the Albert Pujols is priceless bandwagon and would pretty much pay him whatever he wants to be on my team, I can not help but balk at the Jose Bautista contract extension from the Toronto Blue Jays. Bautista will be 30 years old this year and has been a major leaguer since 2004 before having a “huge year” in 2010. His 2010 was certainly impressive with the 54 home runs and 5.6 WAR(7.1 offensive WAR but -1.5 defensive WAR.) It is a bit much to give a player who has had one good year in his career(Bautista has never hit more than 16 home runs or above .254 before 2010,) nearly 13 million dollars a year until he is 35 years old. It is very reasonable to think that last season was some sort of anomaly, and I absolutely do. Do not be surprised is Toronto made a bad deal and we do not see Bautista have a year like last year ever again in his career.
Two of the top talents over a 10 to 15 year period between the early 90s and mid 2000s have both called it a career this week. Jim Edmonds and Gary Sheffield have both retired and their names will certainly be thrown around in the next 5 years when they are put on the Hall of Fame ballot. Neither of them are likely Hall of Famers but for different reasons. Although Gary Sheffield was one of the most feared hitters for a long time, he is not what most would consider a very good guy. He had a bad reputation of being a bit of a jerk and has been tainted because his name has been wrapped up in the steroid discussion for years. In an era where people are not tolerant of performance enhancing drugs such as steroids or HGH, 500 home runs may not automatically write one’s ticket to Cooperstown anymore. Sheff will likely fall into the Palmiero and Bagwell(both of whom I believe eventually will and should get into the Hall)range of players. Edmonds on the other hand may simply not have the numbers to warrant being enshrined with the immortals. His .284 average, 393 home runs, and 8 gold gloves over 17 seasons is very impressive but not the best of the best. Edmonds may be best known for his glove and for making quite possibly the greatest catch of all time, back in 1997(catch at approximately 1:45 into the video.)
The Mets Madoff saga seems to be one of the few things being discussed and beaten to death on New York sports talk radio but I do not know that there is really much to say about it. Maybe the Wilpon’s really were dumb enough to not realize that the returns on their investments were simply too good to be true while the market was tanking, maybe they did know and did not care, or maybe they were in on it with Madoff? Who really knows at this point. The latest, is that the Wilpon’s are being sued for around $300,000,000 because of this whole thing. They want to sell around 25% of the team(or approximately $250 million), maybe to Donald Trump, Martin Luther King Junior’s son, or another party, but whoever it is to they better hope they find a suitor because otherwise Mets fans will not be very happy when they can not spend any money in the offseason for another year or two. The New York Mess continues and it does not look like it is going to fare well for the Wilpons, Mets or their fans.