SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wow! (Of Course, It Probably Won't Happen)

Perhaps ESPN published the story to spice up a weekend of terrible weather on the East Coast.

Perhaps some ESPN baseball writers boozed it up a bit too much in Florida weather that really hasn't been great, either.

Perhaps the teams actually discussed what the story reports -- that the Phillies and Cardinals have spoken about swapping -- gulp -- Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols.

The Phillies deny the story, but at some level it makes some sense, particularly for the Cardinals. Pujols can become a free agent after this season, and it will take a boatload of bucks to re-sign him. Howard is signed through the 2011 season and is from St. Louis. The Phillies also could use a big righty bat to complement lefties Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez in the middle of the order (as well as switch hitters Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino). Pujols probably is less of a gamble for a long-term contract because he's the best hitter in the game, much less streaky than Howard and won't have to worry about his weight as much.

The only reason this deal could happen is if the Cardinals believe they won't be able to ink Pujols to a long-term deal and if the Phillies think that they can. If that were to happen -- wow! If that were to happen, and, say, the Phillies were willing to sign Pujols to a 5-year, $150 million deal (unlikely, as Philadelphia sports teams traditionally have treated nickels like their manhole covers, but, to be fair, the Phillies have stretched more in recent years than they have historically), then you'd continue to have a nucleus beyond the 2012 season and you'd build the team for more than a two-year horizon. It's not as crazy as it seems.

But it sounds far-fetched right now.

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