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October 24, 2011

In an Orioles dream world: Pujols or Fielder?

I’ve been saying all year that I just don’t see the St. Louis Cardinals allowing Albert Pujols to leave Missouri. He is that city’s Ripken, and we know what happened every time Ripken approached free agency.

After Saturday’s historic performance – most total bases in a World Series game and just the third person with three homers in one October Classic game – I really don’t see him going anywhere now.

As I tweeted Sunday, I think there is a better chance St. Louis becomes a dry town before it allows Pujols to move elsewhere.

And if he does leave, he isn’t coming to Baltimore. You don’t walk away from a World Series team for a consistent loser unless the money is unspeakable. And the money won’t be unspeakable here.

If the Orioles have a chance to land a top free agent at first base, it would be the Milwaukee Brewers' Prince Fielder – and I don’t think there is a chance with that, either.

But let’s assume for a moment that the Orioles – all things being equal – could choose between Fielder and Pujols. Is it a slam-dunk for Pujols?

Yes, he is headed to the Hall of Fame and is nearly as good of a defender as he is an offensive force. He is one of the best baseball players of the past 50 years – and he might be able to make a case for one of the best ever.

But he’ll be 32 in January and has played in 150 games per season just three times in the past six seasons (but never fewer than 143 in that time). So, no matter how tough he is, he’s had to deal with slight injuries as he has aged (he played in 154 or more in each of his first five seasons).

Fielder, on the other hand, is a serviceable first baseman and isn’t anywhere near the physical specimen as Pujols, who is nicknamed “The Machine.”

But Fielder won’t be 28 until May and has played in 157 or more games in each of his first six full seasons. The big guy has missed just one game in the past three seasons.

Fielder also will come cheaper – not cheap, mind you – than Pujols if they each reach the open market.

So that’s probably something you need to take into consideration when you answer this question.

If you have a chance to sign Fielder or Pujols for the Orioles—and you can’t sign both – who would you take? The better but older player or the younger guy who may still be peaking?

Let's assume you have to sign each one to an eight-year deal.

I understand neither scenario will occur, but, hey, it’s October. Dream a little.

Daily Think Special: In your Orioles’ dream world: Pujols or Fielder?

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:00 AM | | Comments (39)
Categories: Connolly's Corner Sports Bar
        

Comments

It is only a question of how much does Angelos want to win, but, Puljos is the one you put in your lineup and he alone brings the respect a team needs to get the players to come. The orioles must, yes, must sign one of them no matter the cost!

Here you go again. PLEASE stop with this sports writers whipping the fans into a frenzy over Fielder or Pujols. If the Orioles are going to get above .500 and start threatening to be playoff contenders, they have to get the TEAM ready to win.

The O's HAVE a good first baseman - Reynolds. If the O's had a middle-of-the-pack startingh rotation, they would have been above .500 this past season. The starting pitching sucks!

Forget huge name free agent first basemen. Let's get after the front office and ownership to spend the money to land 3 capable starting pitchers who can eat innings, post an E.R.A. within hailing distance of 4.0, and pitch 7+ innings per outing.

Do that and the O's will shine in 2011.

--

Whipping fans into a frenzy? I think I clearly stated these options won't happen, but I am curious as to who people would want if it were possible. You have more than a week before free agency can start. Relax pal, we're just talking here. BTW, good luck finding three that fit your requirements on this year's market (free agency or trades) that can do it in the AL East. But I agree, better pitching is the priority.

Fielder, because of his youth, and being lefthanded, the rightfield wall would be very inviting. Fielder is more of a right-center hitter, though, but he can pull the ball. Plus, he could DH on occasion.

But I think Dan's question should be, Pujols/Fielder or CC Sabathia.

Here's the thing. No matter how good Pujols or Fielder are, I'm not in favor of giving anyone 30 mil a year. That ties up way too much payroll for one guy. But, given the Orioles state of the rotation, I might could be convinced to give CC that 30.

The Red Sox and Yankees are essentially out of the running, unless the Sox can convince either Prince or Albert to DH. The Yankees will probably have to DH ARod more and more over the next few years, so signing a DH to a huge money, long term contract makes no sense. Besides, I'm not sure even the Yankees can afford Teixeira, Jeter, Pujols/Fielder, and CC if he goes back there.

The other thing is, I think most here in Baltimore would agree that if the Orioles are to spend money, and every indication is that the owner will spend this off-season, that money needs to go to pitching. The offense was not the problem this year, and the defense, for the most part was pretty good, especially when Reynolds moved to first and Reimold settled down in LF. What undid the season was the starting pitching.

Look at this past Orioles season has a hockey game, three periods. They tied the first period, going 30-31. But they got clobbered in the second period, going 17-46. The recovered to win the third, going 22-16. So, for two of three periods, this team was a representative 52-47. The middle period did them in, and the culprit, like a bad hockey team's goaltending, was the starting pitching. If they can use that 30 million earmarked for Fielder for a couple of veteran starters, this team's staff will stabilize.

I disagree with Roch Kubatco. He wrote that the Orioles bullpen is in shambles. He's wrong. For once, the Orioles go into the off-season with solid arms, both quantity and quality. If they can get the rotation settled down, then the manager can get the relievers into their roles and he can mix and match them into their best possibility of success. He couldn't do that in period two last year, but we saw how well the bullpen could do when they were put into their proper roles. And it all starts with the starting pitching.

So, forget Albert and Prince and concentrate on CC and CJ.

Orioles need starting pitching STAT! There is no need for fans to even think about getting either of these players (not that they would consider coming here) when we had the majors worst team ERA by a full .3 runs worse than ANY other MLB team. Offensively the O's had 4th most Homeruns in MLB last year. However, with the loss of B-Rob for another year, there was nobody at the top to set the table for Markakis, Jones, Reynolds, Hardy and Wieters. The latter of which is finally emerging as the star they predicted. O's need a high on Base percentage/base stealer at the top of the lineup again.

If they are gonna make any type of free agent splashes it needs to be for pitching. Matusz took a GIANT step backwards last year after looking like the ACE of the future. Arrietta and Britton are the only two of the big prospects we've heard about for years that had solid seasons. O's need pitching...not Pujols. They need it bad.

Neither are feasible, and neither should they be. Pitching is the problem, not a slugger.

Fielder, hands-down.

He can put up more than Pujols in the HR and RBI departments, which to me is the biggest thing right now. Defense is a plus at any position, but the gap between great and average defenders is the smallest at 1B, in my opinion. Throw in the fact that Pujols is already showing slight signs of starting to wear down (and there are questions about his actual age), there’s no way I sign him for 8 years, especially if Fielder is an option. I don’t even think it should be a question.

Really Jim?
>The O's HAVE a good first baseman - Reynolds.>
??
The only thing he is good at is keeping the people in the front row cool with the swing of his bat as he strikes out...again.
No question Fielder is the right choice AND some solid pitching.
And can anyone get Roberts a wonder-drug to fix him? or is he gone forever?
Let's go O's (playoffs in 2020?)

The O's brass must just love the DISTRACTION about offense, when our real problems are the very costly acqusition of STARTING PITCHING. Look at our hitting and defense in 2011:
definitely good enough to contend. Now look at our WORST IN ALL OF BASEBALL pitching.

Stop writing articles and diverting attention away from the REAL issue: PITCHING !!

Dan, one thing missing from your prompt that is very relevant is how old Pujols ACTUALLY is. Nobody in the game believes he is really only 32, more likely 34 or 35. When you're talking about a 7-10 year contract that makes a HUGE difference. With Fielder, you'd be paying for his 28-32 prime seasons and if there's a drop off after, that so be it. With Albert, as great as he is, it's quite possible he's already a few years past the traditional prime years and you're paying for all of his decline. It's got to be Prince.

Having said that, I see Albert staying with the Cardinals and Prince going to the Giants. But don't forget about Joey Votto, word is the Reds will try to move him this winter.

Neither. Spend the cash on pitching. Fielder's body worries me. Yes - he is only 27, but I don't think he can play at a high level over 8 years with that body. I think you might get 5 good years out of an 8 year deal at max.

Pujols is a monster and the best hitter in baseball. However -- I do not think he is 32 y.o. I think he is more likely 35-36 by my unscientific look at him. HIs age has never been truly verified. I think you might get 5 strong years out of him at most.

All of this is moot - b/c neither one of them is coming to Baltimore.

In an Orioles dream world we would have a new owner that cares more about winning than maximizing profits off of die-hard fans

Puljols, hands down !!!!!!!!

As Jim posts, stop with the dream bs and get some pitching.

Please, not Pujols or Fielder. Of all places Pujols could go, why on earth would he choose the Orioles? He will land in Chicago or the west coast if he doesn't resign with StL.
Fielder is like another Albert Belle, except younger. You don't want this guy. He will poison the clubhouse.
Keep Reynolds at first, find a good 3B, and hire a top-notch pitching coach to develop the current talent. Doing that should bring the team to .500

Well, Dan..... it seems that most of your responders so far want to ignore the nature of your question and go off on their own philosophical tangents.
You set the parameters and conditions quite specifically, and still they wander elsewhere in their answers.

I will honor your intent: ALBERT PUJOLS.

I'm not sure how anyone could choose a buffoon-looking, roly-poly, slopping-within-his-uniform, disgrace-to-athetes-everywhere physical-problems-waiting-to-happen character like Prince--- over an exempliary specimen like Albert, even if their accomplishments were exactly even.
I'd be willing to bet that at 40 (the last year of an 8-year deal) Pujols will still be hitting the ball hard and often while Fielder will be out of baseball.

Neither. In 3 years Pujols age will start to affect his play and in 3 years Fielders weight will start to affect his play and considering both players will take a long term deal to sign a contract it would eventually be a big bust.

I just finished reading the Moneyball book. choose whichever one has the highest on-base-percentage or sees the most pitches per at bat :)

Ok, I've read the comments that have come before me and yes we do need starting pitching. Thats why Jim Johnson should have a long conversation with Adam Wainwright. We would have a great starter right under our nose.

Second-We can't trust Roberts even if he is healthy to be the player we remember him as. Sign Juan Pierre from the White Sox. That gives us speed, a leadoff hitter and better defense in leftfield. I love Reimold, but he didn't exactly blow us away this year. Make him the forth outfielder.

Third-Albert Pujols is a fierce competitor and a gold glover. I'm not so sure he wouldn't come here like everyone thinks. It would give him the chance to challenge ARod and AGonzalez face to face. Surely we would have to break the bank to get him but remember what happened a few years ago to Detriot when they overpaid for Ivan Rodriguez, a year or two later they went to the world series. It was that move alone that changed the team.

Fielder though younger and at this point in their careers will surely have better stats from here on out, but still wouldn't be that spark like IRod was.

Plus one more challenge I think Pujols would like. We could leave Reynolds at first and move Albert to third where he started while McGwire was still in St Louis. If you look at his defensive stats on 3B they're not that impressive but playing there everyday I know he could handle it.

Neither. In 3 years Pujols age will start to affect his play and in 3 years Fielders weight will start to affect his play and considering both players will take a long term deal to sign a contract it would eventually be a big bust.

I for one do not want any marquee stars.

Oversimplification, I know, but hear me out - - I'll take three quality $3 million players over one $9 million player any time.

Any time.

See ya

Seeing as how we are dreaming....let's dream big!

In an attempt to win the World Series and be able to get the most money when he sells the team, Angelos goes all out and stops at nothing to buy a championship.

He signs Albert Pujols to $33 million a year and Prince to $26 million a year.

He then get's CC Sabathia for $22 million a year and signs C.J. to $15 million a year.

He gets Pierre for LF at $12 million a year.

He signs Koji Uehara

Albert plays 3B, Fielder DH, Reynolds 1B.

They trade Guthrie for prospects from K.C.

They eat most of Gregg's contract and deal him to AZ for a couple of low level prospects.

They trade Matusz and Izturis to TX for 3 mid level prospects.

They eat most of Roberts contract and after a strong spring are able to trade him for two young AA pitchers.


Here is the projected lineup and rotation.

Juan Pierre - LF
J.J. Hardy - SS
Albert Pujols - 3B
Prince Fielder - DH
Adam Jones - CF
Mark Reynolds - 1B
Matt Wieters - C
Nick Markakis - RF
Robert Andino - 2B

Bench:

Tatum
Davis
Adams
Angle

Starting Rotation

C.C Sabathia
C.J. Wilson
Zach Britton
Jake Arrieta
Tommy Hunter


Bullpen

Brad Bergesson - situational
Koji Uehara - 7th inning
Strop - 8th inning Setup
Jim Johnson - Closer
Zach Phillips - situational
Accardo - situational
Simon - long relief / situational

After winning the World Series, Angelos sells the team led by a group of investors consisting of Cal and Billy Ripken, and Brady Anderson among others. They continue to draft an equal amount of position players in the upcoming drafts as pitchers and go with a new philosophy of buying the arms and growing the bats. They no longer take pitchers in the first round as they realize they are just as likely to get a great pitcher in the 3rd to 5th rounds, but the better position players always go in the top 2 rounds.

In a dream world?

BOTH

Pujols plays first, Fielder DH and Reynolds back to 3rd base.

And don't worry about Reynolds' fielding percentage at 3rd. Bud Selig is gonna find a way to fine ya every night for running up the score anyway.

If you don't think the Orioles will sign either one of them, then stop writing about it. It gets old.

MJR's
got it right. paying 25 million for either is a waste of resources.
note the payrolls of the series participants, averaging 97 million. when factoring out vlad and lee,the o's spend 72 mill,the question too ask,what 3-4 players can we buy, who will bring 20 to 2 5 more wins and thus increase attendance by 500,000?
angelos' 97 experience was enough to tell him,he does not have to spend 150 mill to be a winner, but he needs players, not icons!! vlad ,who, probable, deferred much of his income was a sentimental, icon. watching him, in last year's series was painful!

I think if you build a better mousetrap, the free agents will come.

In the meantime, Dan, why not ask the fans who they think are realistic possibilities for the O's to pursue to get 3 new starting pitchers?

Pujols ain't happening and we all know that, but why is Fielder impossible? Who is our competition? Yankees have Tex, BSox have Gonzalez, Phillies have Howard and no more cash, CSox have Konerko, Cardinals have the Machine, Cubs and Theo aren't doing a big contract this season as they have too many on the books so who pays Fielder if not us? Dodgers can't do it this season with Kemp needing to be signed and their turmoil. The only other team that seems plausible is the Angels so don't think it's impossible.

Let's got with Pujols. He still has a couple of years in him, although he come with a big ego. Fielder, although younger, sill probably go from his playing weigt of close to 300 pounds to maybe 350 pounds. He can't get very many balls hit near him and he has a hard time getting around the bases, so I would not pick him. The truth is, only an ego-maniac owner would pay what either of them wants. Pujols looked good in one game but the game they lost in St. Louis and last night did not show he is worth the money he wants. Talk about greed!. Get neither and sink that money into some pitching.

Pujols.

No question.

.328/.420/.617, Gold Glove defense, and even a handful of stolen bases

vs.

.282/.390/.540, No defense and a brick on the base paths

And, before you ask, I don't care that Albert is four years older. When Albert is 36 in the fifth year of his next contract, I'll bet he contributes more than Prince does at age 32 in the fifth year of his next contract.

Back to reality...

Starting at first base for your 2012 Baltimore Orioles... Mark Reynolds!

Neither. The team needs pitching. Anyone who calls them self an Orioles fan should stop fantasying about Pujols or Fielder until the team has decent pitching. Anyone who knows anything about baseball should realize that a team with the worst pitching in the MLB will have a losing record, even if it has 9 Hall of Fame caliber hitters.

I think too much is made of the way Prince looks. The guy is a beast and he loves the game. I don't see the O's outbidding anyone to get him, but I also don't see how any team can give Albert 10 years/300 mil and be competitive?

Dan,

Gammons said CJ Wilson should go for 4 years and around 14 mil so would the O's bite? Wilson, Guthrie, Britton and Hunter would make up a solid starting rotation. I just don't see how the O's can compete without going after a starter who can go deep because Matusz, Tillman and Bergy shouldn't be counted on to save the O's in 2012.

Roy oswalt is available, Philly declined his option.

Dan,

The Orioles need starting pitching, LF, 2B, 3B, C.

I agree with the other poster - the Os need SP, SP, SP...Bulldogs - Sutcliffesque.

As for LF, a platoon guy with Reimold.

2B, 3B - I'd look for hungry platoon guys from other teams. Players who WANT to play.

Peace

Why do you want us to dream about Pujols or Fielder???? Neither is the answer. If you want to dream, it should be about starting pitching. I realize that there aren't too many pitchers to pick from. However, let me throw this out. Instead of dreaming of a first baseman, lets' dream of two starting pitchers. The two names that come to mind are obviously....CC Sabathia and the other is Roy Oswalt. I think he is a free agent in 2012, however it may be after the season. But to humor you....I would pick Fielder because of his age and because it's a dream that is more likely to become a reality than Pujols coming to the O's.

Like that cashier at the Foto Mat once said to me, "Someday your Prince will come."

The dream starts with Pujols being signed and ends with him sicking up the place like most of the players we sign.

To honor the spirit of the thread, I would rather have Pujols of course. The comparison between Fielder and Belle is not exact but too close for comfort. THat being said, I, too, think that we need to be pursuing a top flight starting pitcher (or two). We have a productive 1B in Reynolds. (Of course that means that we also need a 3B.)

Both. But they'll get neither because, while Angelos can afford both of them and more, he doesn't care about winning....never has.

Pujols would be great but how many home runs could Fielder put up playing in Camden Yards? 50 plus? It's fun to dream either way.

Since this is a "dream", I'd take both and have them alternate games at DH and 1B. And as my dream continues... we'd trade for Ryan Braun to play RF, Matt Kemp to play LF, Adrain Beltre at 3B, and for a starting rotation of CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson, Cliff Lee and Justin Verlander, with our 7-8-9 punch as Oflaherty, Venters, Kimbrel...oh and Brian Roberts would get 100% healthy to play 2B, We'd keep Adam Jones, Matt Weiters, and JJ Hardy.

And Bobby Cox would come out of retirement to manage them.

I like my dream.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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