pujols grimace

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.

Brewers sign Neftali Feliz

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 29: Neftali Feliz #30 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch during the eighth inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 29, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Pirates won the game 8-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Brewers have signed Neftali Feliz to a one-year, $5.35 million contract. There are some performance incentives in the deal that could push it to $6.85 million. Feliz will likely open the 2017 season as the Brewers’ closer.

The 28-year-old righty is coming off of an impressive season with the Pirates. His hits allowed per nine innings were WAY down and his WHIP dipped sharply as well, despite the fact that he walked a few more dudes. That was offset by a big spike in his strikeout rate: from 7.3/9IP in 2015 to 10.2 last year. A blemish: he missed the last month of the season after suffering a bout of arm soreness, though no structural problem was ever uncovered, he’ll likely be good to go next month.

Marlins acquire starter Dan Straily from the Reds

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 3: Dan Straily #58 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the first inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on September 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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The Miami Marlins have acquired starting pitcher Dan Straily from the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange, the Reds will receive right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfield prospect Isaiah White.

For the Marlins, they get a solid starter who logged 191.1 innings of 113 ERA+ ball last year. Straily has moved around a lot in his five big league seasons — the Marlins will be his fifth club in six years — but it was something of a breakout year for him in Cincinnati. The only troubling thing: he tied for the league lead in homers allowed. Of course, pitching half of his games in Great American Ballpark didn’t help that, and Miami will be a better place for him.

Castillo is 24. He split last season between high-A and Double-A — far more of it in A-ball — posting a 2.26 ERA over 24 starts. Austin Brice is also 24. He pitched 15 games in relief for the Marlins last year at the big league level with poor results. He seemed to blossom at Triple-A, however, after the Marlins shifted him to the pen. White was a third round pick in the 2015 draft. He played low-A ball as a minor leaguer last year, hitting .214/.306/.301.

A mixed bag of young talent for the Reds, but stockpiling kids and seeing what shakes out is what a team like the Reds should be doing at the moment. For the Marlins: a solid mid-to-back end starter who may just be coming into his own.