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.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.