Working around Albert Pujols’ desire for a no-trade clause

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Really, this shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

Albert Pujols wants a no-trade clause. The Marlins have a long-standing policy of not offering them.

Both of those positions are understandable. Still, there should be a way around it.

For starters, Pujols would automatically get full no-trade protection after five years with the Marlins under the league’s 10-5 policy (any player with 10 years of service time, including five continuous with the same team, has the right to veto any deal).

So, the Marlins just need to do something that would cover the first five years of the deal. And that should be easy enough: simply include two $30 million options at the end of the contract that would become guaranteed in the event that Pujols is traded in the first five years of the deal. No team in its right mind would ever consider taking on a contract that had Pujols earning $60 million at ages 42 and 43.

Or, better yet, Pujols should just decide not to worry about it and sign with the Marlins if he wants to sign with the Marlins. Veto power or no, how often do superstars get traded when they’re not completely on board with the deal? It doesn’t happen. No team is going to want to make a huge investment in a potentially unhappy Pujols. And if the day comes that the Marlins will want to trade Pujols, then most likely, Pujols is going to want the deal, too.

Report: Phillies moving in on a deal with Tommy Hunter

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Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.

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There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.

As for Reed, well, who knows.