Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein has been busy since joining the team and Pujols to Cubs has been a hot topic of discussion for over a year in the Windy City. After spending most of the young free agent period surveying the landscape, Epstein has officially reached out to the slugger's agent.
ESPN's Jerry Cransnick broke the story on Pujols to Cubs this afternoon. The 32-year-old has been an incredible force from the first time he crossed the white lines for the Cardinals in 2001.
The future Hall of Famer boasts staggering career averages that he's maintained with model-like consistency each season. Over the course of Pujols' 11 year career, the slugger has averaged 197 hits, 42 home runs, 126 runs batted in, 123 runs scored, a .328 batting average, while reaching base at a .420 clip. Read those numbers one more time, they're unprecedented.
Adding to his free agent value, the Machine's well-documented clutch play in the MLB postseason has been instrumental in two Cardinal World Series Championship runs. This past season he tied baseball legends Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson with a record three bombs in Game 3 of the WS.
It remains to be seen whether the Cubs have joined the bidding war as serious contenders for Pujols or if the team is just looking to drive up the price for their rival Cardinals. A quick fix at first base alone, even the best player in the game, will not turn the woeful Cubs roster into a contending unit.
The Cardinals current offer to Phat Albert is $200-$210 million over nine years, and according to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, the team has no plans to increase it.
Fans of the loveable losers need to decide whether being saddled with another aging former superstar into their late 30's and early 40's is the route they want to take. Consider the Alfonso Soriano debacle. It's true that Pujols to Cubs would seem to make more sense then signing an injury-prone, defensive liability whose skills were more inclined to nose dive with age. But it's hard to see the Cubs shelling out the kind of money it would take to trump the Cardinals current offer.
Pujols to Cubs would make a splash heard around baseball, but unless the Cubs have the remaining ammunition to pull the trigger on a deal to aid their anemic starting rotation and other holes in the roster, a deal to sign Prince Albert long-term makes no sense.
That said, Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer and the Cubs Front Office may have other ideas.