Now that the Thanksgiving holiday has passed and with the Winter Meetings approaching, the hot stove appears ready to warm up for several free agents. However, this may not be the case for Albert Pujols, the player many consider to be the best available free agent this winter. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports says there isn’t much of a market for Pujols and that he’s heard it’s “100 percent certain” that the slugger returns to St. Louis.
This is what most expected to happen all along. It originally seemed like the longer Pujols remained on the free agent market, the more of a chance there was of the future Hall of Famer ending up on a new team. But this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore as, according to Passan, there are few other teams that Pujols would seriously consider besides the Cardinals.
At this point, the Marlins are the only team to have put in an offer for Pujols. This offer is reportedly less than what the Cardinals offered Pujols before the 2011 season. Passan says that each side was using the other; Pujols used Miami for leverage while the Marlins used Pujols for publicity. This deal isn’t happening.
Passan also brings up the Nationals and Rangers, two clubs that could be fits for Pujols but have shown little to no interest in the first baseman. Texas has gone so far as to say they are confident in current first baseman Mitch Moreland and will not look into acquiring Pujols or Prince Fielder this winter.
The Cubs were another early sexy pick to land Pujols, but that hasn’t developed. Passan names the Angels, Giants and Dodgers along with the free-spending Yankees and Red Sox as other clubs that could have interest in the slugger, but again, none has made a move.
Because this is the case, many around the game expect Pujols to return to the Cardinals in 2012. One executive that Passan spoke to regarding Pujols said that he’s “100 percent certain he’s going back” to the Cardinals.
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You can check out all of the available free agents by position below.