A bizarre and round about series of events and coincidences have made it clear to me that Albert Pujols will almost certainly not be a member of the St. Louis Cardinals next year.
Before Pujols files for free agency, two large market franchises will change ownership and be in position to bid for him, and I believe Bud Selig will be manipulating the whole thing to help preserve his legacy.
That’s right, I am predicting a conspiracy before there are any facts or events to back up my theory. I admit that is no easy trick. But I think I am on to something.
Bud Selig is retiring in 2012. With the steroid era evidently behind him and if baseball avoids a work stoppage (and the NFL and NBA have one) then he will be able to claim that he left the game clean and thriving with labor peace.
But there are four gigantic messes he needs to clean up before riding off into the sunset.
Two won’t be covered here, but I will mention them: The Rays and the A’s stadium disasters. Neither team can last in their current dumps and nor have a viable solution for survival, especially if the Giants can block the A’s move to San Jose. But that is another post.
The big BIG mess is the state of the Mets and Dodgers, two of the flagship franchises of the National League. According to USA Today, only the Yankees and Red Sox are worth more than the Dodgers and those teams plus the Cubs are the only ones worth more than the Mets.
I don’t think it is stretch to call New York and Los Angeles big markets. And guess what? They are both in financial chaos.
The Dodgers have been mismanaged to the point where MLB had to take the unprecedented steps of essentially removing the owner from power. (We’ll see if Frank McCourt surrenders the power of the team.)
And the Mets should be on notice. If the twisted finances of the McCourt divorce can make Selig and company take over the Dodgers, then being swindled by Bernie Madoff (and not being sure what they knew in advance) should be even a greater cause for MLB to step in and take the car keys away from the Wilpons.
In the very least, the Mets should be forced to sell.
So that would mean the Mets and Dodgers would have new ownership going into the 2012 season. And also have a disillusioned fan base, declining attendance and a natural division rival playing well (the Phillies for the Mets and the Giants for the Dodgers.)
Whomever is going to run the Mets and the Dodgers will need to assure their paying customers (and TV viewers and sponsors) that not only are the bad days behind them but glamorous superstar days are ahead.
The Giants were in a similar boat when Peter Magowan took over the team in the wake of the proposed move to Tampa Bay. He found the quickest way to get the fan base energized: He signed the best player in baseball, Barry Bonds.
Which brings us to Albert Pujols. He’s a free agent to be. He has nothing left to prove in St. Louis when he finishes this, his 11th season. He has given the Cardinals a championship, post season heroics, MVPs and done so with class and a flair for the dramatic. And, as I said in a previous video, Cardinal fans can NEVER boo him.
Pujols could need a new challenge in his life, the biggest contract in baseball history and a chance to be a hero in a brand new market.
(See Rose, Pete. See Jackson, Reggie. And Albert is better than both of them!)
And if just so happens that the Dodgers have an opening at first base. I may not be 100% sure how VORP works, but I can guess that Albert Pujols replacing James Loney is an improvement.
And the Mets have Ike Davis, who is a nice player. When you have the chance to get one of the great offensive players of all time, you might think about sacrificing a nice player or two!
Both the Dodgers and the Mets will have new owners, money to spend and a city to impress. And they will BOTH bid on Albert Pujols.
Why do I say that with such certainty? Because Selig will make sure of it. Captain Bud will not let an owner take over the Dodgers nor the Mets unless they were intending on trying to sign Pujols.
It makes sense for the Dodgers to win back their fans and show there is a new era in Chavez Ravine.
It makes sense for the Mets to turn the page on the Wilpon fiasco (and no doubt Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins would welcome Albert’s arrival.)
It makes sense for labor peace as players making big contracts is always looked on fondly by the Players Association.
And it makes sense for Selig as he leave the game with franchises other than the Yankees and Red Sox bidding over the biggest free agents.
And which ever team can’t land Pujols will have a nice consolation prize in Prince Fielder.
Think Selig is above this sort of backroom dealings? Or perhaps not clever enough?
PUH-lease. I am not going to even go into the whole “Used Car Salesman” past of Mr. Selig.
This was the guy who maneuvered the ownership of the Expos, Marlins and Red Sox around so his hand picked successor would take over in Boston instead of the McCourts.
This was the guy who claimed to have no clue about the steroid culture, even though allegations were made public as far back as 1988, when Peter Ueberroth was commissioner.
This was the guy who was part of the owners group that ousted Fay Vincent for not doing their bidding and installing himself as owner/commissioner. It was supposed to be temporary. That was 1992.
This was one of the many owners found guilty of collusion in the 1980s.
Shady wheeling and dealing are right in Bud Selig’s wheelhouse.
So a nudge here and there and making sure the new owners come with an aggressive eye on Albert is not as outlandish as colluding, kicking the commissioner out and not noticing that the players all were bigger than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
You heard it here first on Sully Baseball.
I am declaring it a conspiracy before it actually happens.
Colluding is and always will be part of Bud Selig’s legacy.