Would the Angels use Albert Pujols at third base?

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Mark Trumbo has never played third base in a professional game, majors or minors, so the Angels’ plans to use him at the hot corner this spring and perhaps regularly during the season raised the question of whether they might do the same with Albert Pujols.

Pujols, unlike Trumbo, actually has plenty of third base experience in the big leagues. He came up as a third baseman, played the position regularly during his first two seasons, and saw spot action there in seven games last season.

So might manager Mike Scioscia give him a look at third base, if only in an emergency situation to help clear the first base/corner outfield logjam? Nope. Scioscia told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that it’s not an option because he wouldn’t want to disrupt Pujols’ hitting.

For his part, Pujols indicated that he’d be willing to give third base a try if Scioscia wanted, saying:

If that’s the decision he has to make, I follow the orders. My job is here in the locker room. I don’t have the office. He’s the one who has the office and writes the lineup. It’s about winning, man.

So, to recap: Pujols would much rather play third base than be called “El Hombre.”

It seems fairly unlikely that Pujols would be worse than Trumbo at third base, but it’s equally unlikely that Pujols would actually be good there and Scioscia is probably smart not to mess with a $250 million investment.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.