What they’re saying about Albert Pujols’ historic night

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Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols tallied a World Series record 14 total bases in Saturday night’s 16-7 Game 3 defeat of the Rangers. He went 5-for-6 with six RBI and four runs scored, homering three times to join the proverbial Mount Rushmore of postseason performers. Only Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson had homered three times in a World Series game before Albert joined them in accomplishing the feat.

Let’s take a trip around the web to see what others are saying about Pujols’ historical performance:

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com: “This isn’t a tale about how many zillions of dollars Albert Pujols is about to add to his 401(k) this winter. This isn’t a tale about whether Albert Pujols owes it to the American public to talk to media knuckleheads like us after a World Series game. No, this is just a tale about what really matters at times like this — the tale of how the greatest hitter in our solar system took an electrifying journey into the history books on a crazy Saturday evening in October.”

MLB.com’s Matthew Leach: “It would not have been unreasonable to think Albert Pujols had nothing left to accomplish in baseball. It just would have been wrong. Add one more line to the résumé of the greatest hitter of his generation: Pujols turned in the greatest individual hitting performance in World Series history on Saturday night.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington: “Between him and [Miguel] Cabrera, you need to outlaw them. They’re just that good.The guy just got locked in after his first at-bat tonight. I thought we had put him away. Next thing you know, the ball is up in the third deck.”

Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa: “There were a couple times in the dugout during the middle of the game we said let’s have a game like we’ll never forget. That’s kind of what he did.’’

Gil LeBreton, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Pujols batted in four consecutive innings, fourth through seventh. He hit a single, a single, a home run and then another homer. And for anyone who wasn’t yet stupefied, Pujols launched another fly ball into the left-field seats in the top of the ninth.”

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “When the scoreboard stopped flashing, when the smoke cleared, when the Texas Rangers’ pitchers wobbled into the clubhouse to receive stitches, Albert Pujols finally dropped his bat. … Pujols went deep into his own heart, and then deep into the heart of Texas.”

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports: “North Texas has its way of lookin’ at things, and then of puttin’ ‘em. And right about the time the Texas Rangers were gettin’ plum pole-axed Saturday night on Nolan Ryan Expressway, as they were witnessing and participating in one of the great offensive performances – if not the greatest – in World Series history, they’d bought themselves another folksy idiom: Son, you don’t get into a hittin’ contest with Albert Pujols.”

SI.com’s Tom Verducci: “Lincoln at Gettysburg. Hendrix at Woodstock. Pujols at Arlington. The performance of a lifetime.”

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “You know you’re getting old(er) when you see something like tonite and reckon you’ll never see it again.”

Yankees trade Sonny Gray to the Reds

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The deal was much talked about all weekend and now the deal is done: The Cincinnati Reds gave acquired starter Sonny Gray and lefty Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second base prospect Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

The key to making the deal happen: Gray agreeing to a a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The Reds will likewise hold a $12 million club option for 2023. The deal had been struck and a window granted through close of business today to get Gray to agree to the extension and, obviously, he has.

The Reds will get a pitcher coming off of a bad season in which he posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances. He was hammered particularly hard in Yankee Stadium but pitched better on the road. Great American Ballpark is not a great pitcher’s park itself but any change of scenery would be nice for Gray, who had become much unwanted and unloved in New York. In Cincinnati he has the assurance of a spot in the rotation and, even better for him, he will be reunited with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, who joined new manager David Bell’s Reds staff earlier this offseason. If he bounces back even a little bit, the Reds will have a useful starter at a below market price for four years. If he doesn’t, well, they haven’t exactly gone bankrupt taking the chance.

The Reds will also get Reiver Sanmartin, 22, who started in the Rangers system before being traded to the Yankees. He’s a soft-tosser who figures to be a reliever if he makes the big leagues. He played at four different levels last season, with one game at Double-A and the rest below that, posting a composite 2.80 ERA in 10 starts and 13 overall appearances while striking out 7.8 batters per nine.

The Yankees will get Shed Long, who is ranked as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. The 23-year old second baseman hit .261/.353/.412 at Double-A in 2018 and has hit very close to that overall line for his entire six-year minor league career. He strikes out a bit and may not stick at second base long term, shifting to a corner outfield slot perhaps, but he’s a legitimate prospect.

The Reds get another starter with some upside. The Yankees get rid of a problem and gain a prospect and a draft pick. Sonny Gray gets some job and financial security at a time when it is not at all clear what his future holds. Not a bad baseball trade.

UPDATE: Welp, the Yankees don’t have a prospect anymore. They just traded long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He’s 21 and batted .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 20 steals over 58 games in Short-Season ball in 2018. He’s ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, but now he’s New York bound.