As I suggested yesterday, with Albert Pujols out for four to six weeks with a wrist/forearm break, it has become even harder to see a team like the Chicago Cubs willing to commit the kind of dough necessary to sign the 31-year-old slugger long term.
Gordon Wittenmyer, who has steadfastly claimed the Cubs will not have the money to pursue any big name free agents, let alone Pujols, agrees that the injury diminishes the likelihood that the Cubs go after Pujols (which, yes, is a seemingly contradictory position).
Whatever Albert Pujols’ broken forearm means to the St. Louis Cardinals’ chances of reaching the playoffs this year, consider it one more likely reason he won’t reach the Cubs as a free agent next year.
His projected contract demands already cost-prohibitive, the injury casts at least doubt on his fitness for a long-term deal, even if he returns in decent form after four to six weeks on the disabled list.
Anything short of that could start dropping his negotiating strength toward the Cubs’ appetite (albeit, requiring a long drop). But that also would suggest damaged goods.
Cubs officials, some of whom shared hugs and handshakes with Pujols when the Cardinals visited Wrigley Field last month, won’t discuss specifics about Pujols or their free-agent plans.
An interesting point that I expect to explore in the coming months after Pujols returns from his injury: the Cardinals are going to be in the best position to know how much his injury should impact his next contract, so every other pursuing team should (will?) take their lead in the amount to offer.
In addition to his performance on the field, which everyone will be able to see, the Cardinals will have complete access to his medical records commensurate with those records being created. And they’ll get the first crack at trying to re-sign him. Put those two things together, and you get one conclusion: if the Cards don’t offer Pujols a mega-extension, you better hope the Cubs don’t try to top whatever the Cards do offer.