File this under not-so-deep thoughts, but for the past couple of days a lot of people have been asking how much money Albert Pujols has made himself on the free agent market due to his big World Series. And I can’t help but wonder why it changes anything.
As Jon Heyman writes today, there are a bunch of reasons why money — while important — won’t be the only thing on Pujols’ mind as he starts negotiating with teams in November. Unlike a lot of big free agents there’s legacy and stature at stake and there’s also the fact that, unlike a lot of other free agents, Pujols would do better sticking where he is if wanting to play for a winner is his objective. St. Louis wins a lot. Heyman’s source notes that it’s gonna take more than a few million more on the offer sheet for a team to seem that much more attractive to Pujols than his current situation.
Is there a team out there willing to go several million per year higher than St. Louis? Sure, it’s possible. But it will take that and not just topping the Cardinals by a little bit that will alter Pujols’ plans. And I don’t think that Pujols’ bigtime World Series is going to make him several million more dollars a year valuable to anyone. We know what he’s capable of by now.
I tend to think differently about C.J. Wilson, who starts Game 5 tonight. Unlike Pujols he has no legacy. Unlike Pujols, his place in the market is much less certain. People have told me I’m misreading this, but I do think that if Wilson lays an egg tonight — a night which will likely be his last appearance before free agency — that it will affect his market.
He’s had a bad postseason. He’s showing people that just because he’s a team’s number one starter doesn’t mean that he’s an ace. Are you telling me that the Yankees, for example, aren’t wondering if Wilson doesn’t have “A.J. Burnett Sequel” written all over him? That he won’t instantly come under serious scrutiny by the New York press as the Mr. Anti-October?
One game — or a couple of games — doesn’t make a difference if you’re Albert Pujols. I can’t help but think that a couple of games are making a difference for C.J. Wilson. Is that nuts?
Wilson Ramos’ agent tells the Washington Post that Ramos still plans to seek a four- or five-year contract this winter in free agency despite the fact that he’s recovering from knee surgery.
Yikes, good luck with that. Ramos suffered ACL and meniscus tears in late September 26 and his rehab will extend well into the 2017 season, when he will turn 30. This coming off a career year that may or may not be a fluke. It’d be hard to commit to him for more than, say, three years under the best of circumstances but given the knee injury it seems unlikely he’ll get offers of that length.
My guess is that he’ll get a lot of two-year offers which give him some rehab time and then a chance for a make-good year with incentives or vesting options. A straight multi-year deal, however, may be very hard to come by for Ramos. Who may very well be a DH very, very soon.
The Game: Cleveland Indians @ Chicago Cubs, World Series Game 3
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Channel: FOX
The Starters: Josh Tomlin (Indians) vs. Kyle Hendricks (Cubs)
As you may have heard, this is the first time a World Series has been played at Wrigley Field in 71 years. Cubs fans have had a lot of time to think about this one, but I assure you, they’re ready. Wrigley is going to be complete bedlam. Or a complete train wreck. Depends on your point of view and, probably, what time you’re walking around Wrigleyville.
The cold and rain of Cleveland is being replaced by some moderately unseasonable warmth in Chicago today. It’ll be in the 60s this afternoon and isn’t projected to cool down after the sun goes down. Between that and clear skies, it should be a lovely night for baseball. Unless you’re a pitcher, that is: strong winds are forecast to be blowing out tonight. That bodes poorly for Indians starter Josh Tomlin, who gave up 36 homers this season, which was just one behind Jered Weaver for most in baseball. The Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks is far better suited to such conditions, as he’s a groundball machine. Look for the Cubs batters to be taking some big uppercuts all night.
The Cubs won’t have Kyle Schwarber taking uppercuts, at least not all game long, but he could pinch hit. The Indians are strongly considering putting Carlos Santana in left field so they can keep both his and Mike Napoli‘s bats in the lineup in the DH-free NL park. The Cubs won 103 games this year without Schwarber, so they should be OK, even if he was a nice addition in Cleveland. Santana, on the other hand, has played exactly one game in the outfield in his major league career. That came in 2012. Do not expect Santana to be . . . smooth.
Cleveland is still looking at pitching Corey Kluber on short rest in tomorrow’s Game 4 and, if it goes that long, bringing him back again in Game 7. The “win all of Kluber’s starts and steal one elsewhere” approach is defensible, but this matchup seems less-than-ideal for the Indians in the “steal one” department. Hendricks has been solid as a rock down the stretch and in the postseason. Between his vexing stuff and a crazy crowd at Wrigley tonight Chicago seems poised to grab the momentum in this series tonight.