Pujols named Sporting News' Player of the Decade

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It’s hard to argue with this:

No muss, no fuss, no drama–and no longer much debate about who is the best player in baseball. For much of the decade, the debate focused on Rodriguez and Barry Bonds. But in nine seasons, Pujols has never not surpassed a .300 average, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. Those Hall of Fame numbers (by age 29) define him only slightly more than his all-around pursuit of excellence.

A-Rod was a distant second.  He had better counting stats than did Pujols, but if you adjust for the fact that he has played the entire decade while Albert didn’t debut until 2001, those differences become minimal.  Pujols kills A-Rod on the rate stats. He also has a ring. He also isn’t loathed in the way that Rodriguez is loathed by so many, though I don’t think that entered into SN’s decision.  Really, the only way Rodriguez would have had an argument would be if he had stayed at short and continued to play good defense there, but that obviously didn’t happen.

Sad that this was such a no-brainer. I’m in the mood for an argument this morning, but this thing really doesn’t call for one. 

The Orioles are “moving aggressively” to trade Manny Machado

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.

Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.