Here’s the craziest thing you’ll read all week (and it’s only Sunday): According to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, the Phillies at one point kicked around the idea of offering Ryan Howard to the Cardinals for slugger Albert Pujols.
Inside Olney’s oddly-formed story we get a flat-out denial of any such talks from Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro Jr., so it’s safe to say discussions are not ongoing (and may have never actually started). Even if the Phillies threw around the thought internally, it’s not exactly a fair swap and we highly doubt Cardinals GM John Mozeliak would even hear the idea through. Howard is an excellent player, but he’s a couple of months older than Pujols and not nearly as valuable.
Pujols, who turned 30 in January, has a .334/.427/.628 career batting line and is widely regarded as one of the top defensive first basemen in the National League. Howard, 30 in November, has a .279/.376/.586 career batting line and isn’t nearly as solid in the field.
Sure, Pujols is headed for free agency and is likely to command one of the richest contracts in sports history, but you pay for what you get. Albert’s stat lines over his first nine major league seasons rank among the finest marks in the game’s 120-plus years of existence. Thanks for the fun, Buster. Is it April yet?
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Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.