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?
Update (11:57 PM ET): And it’s over. Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the seventh with a line drive double down the left field line off of Stroman, ending the no-hitter. Manager Jim Leyland immediately removed Stroman from the game.
U.S. starter Marcus Stroman has held Puerto Rico hitless through six innings thus far in the World Baseball Classic final. The Blue Jays’ right-hander has held the opposition to just one base runner — a walk — with three strikeouts on 68 pitches.
WBC rules limit a pitcher to throwing a maximum of 95 pitches in the Championship Round, so Stroman has 27 pitches left with which to play. If he hits the limit during the at-bat, he can continue throwing to the completion of that at-bat. Needless to say, though, Stroman won’t be finishing his potential no-no.
The U.S. has given four runs of support to Stroman. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the third inning. Then, in the fifth, Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen both provided RBI singles. Update: The U.S. tacked on three more in the top of the seventh when Brandon Crawford drove in two with a bases-loaded single and Giancarlo Stanton followed up with an RBI single.
We’ll keep you updated as Stroman and any pitchers that follow him attempt to complete the no-hitter. Shairon Martis is the only player to throw a no-hitter in WBC history. However, the game ended after seven innings due to the mercy rule, or as it’s known now, the “early termination” rule.
Ian Kinsler found himself in hot water on Wednesday evening when he criticized the way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play baseball. It is his hope that kids watching the World Baseball Classic decide to emulate the emotionless way players from the U.S. play baseball as opposed to the exciting, cheerful way players from other countries tend to play the game.
Needless to say, Kinsler’s comments didn’t sit well with many people, but he has the most recent laugh. Kinsler broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning of Wednesday night’s WBC final against Puerto Rico, slugging a two-run home run to left-center field at Dodger Stadium off of Seth Lugo.
Kinsler, of course, rounded the bases solemnly which is sure to highlight just how cool and exciting the game of baseball is to international viewers.