Michael Wilbon has a column up over at ESPN today in which he implores the Cubs to go after Albert Pujols in free agency.
It’s fine as far as it goes, but I tend not to like arguments that basically come down to “how big it would be!” for team X to sign player Y and about how players are “iconic.” I suspect that the idea of franchises “making statements” and adding “credibility” to the team is one that gets talked about by writers approximately 1000 times more than it does in real front offices.
One comment he makes, though, has me thinking:
Asking whether the Cubs really should go after Pujols is like asking whether a team should have taken Lou Gehrig at a similar stage of his career. The notion that Pujols would be overpaid in the final two or three years of a 10-year-contract ignores the fact that he’s been underpaid — not just the first few years, but over his entire career so far, even this coming season at $16 million. Every single at-bat of Pujols’ career suggests he has four to five Hall of Fame seasons left, by which time the Cubs could have won, at long last, a World Series.
Icon status aside, do you go 8-10 years for the Gehrig/Pujols player if you may only get five good years? I’m trying to think of examples in which someone has been burned on the tail end of a long term deal but the general assessment was “it was worth it anyway.” Maybe that will happen with A-Rod. I suppose it could happen with Todd Helton. Anyone else? Any candidates?
The risk stuff on a long term deal for Pujols is probably the more interesting to me than even the “where might he end up if not in St. Louis” question. I’m someone who is probably too risk averse in life. It’s just my disposition. But I also understand the argument which holds that avoiding risks often locks in the downside of something in a far more certain way than taking the risk ever would. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, you know.
Pujols might be the one guy I’d take five great years for even if there’s a great chance he gets old fast later and doesn’t earn his considerable keep. But it’s not an easy call. Which is why it’s probably a good think I’m not the GM of a baseball team.
There is a disturbing report out of the Dominican Republic, yet to be confirmed by police, but in wide circulation thanks to a series of tweets from Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. The report: that looters encountered a still alive Yordano Ventura after his automobile accident, robbing of him his World Series ring and other possessions, before leaving him to die.
The report comes from Dominican Republic journalist Euri Cabral, who made the claim on a radio station. His comments were picked up by Martinez, who tweeted about it in Spanish. The tweets, collected and translated by the Royals Review blog:
“How outrageous to know that a life like Yordano’s could have been saved had it not been that they looted him the way he was looted . . . Now it is more painful to know that Yordano remained alive after the accident and instead of someone to help him, they robbed him and let him die . . . I hope an investigation will be carried out, because if there is any specific evidence of this, I would feel a great deal of shame for my country.”
As for the state of details which are currently confirmed, Rustin Dodd and Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star report that Ventura crashed his Jeep after leaving an annual festival, losing control and hitting a guardrail in a mountainous area in foggy conditions. Ventura was not wearing a seatbelt at the time and was ejected from the vehicle.
Ventura’s family is said to be pushing for further investigation and clarification as to Cabral’s claims. We will obviously followup with anything Dominican authorities say on the matter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.