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.

Braves clinch NL East title

Ender Inciarte
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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.