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.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.