One of the biggest things coming in the 2011 offseason is the impending free agency of Albert Pujols. He looks to command the biggest contract in MLB history, even corralling 30 million dollars a year. But who will pay him that kind of money? Let's go through the teams and see what the odds are for each team signing Pujols.
The Rays need help at first base, but considering they couldn't re-sign Carl Crawford or Carlos Pena, how in the world would they sign Pujols? Even if they have a small payroll and there's no chance they'll commit over half their 2012 salary to one player. There's a zero chance Pujols goes to the Rays.
Odds: 1 in 4,000,000,000
The Royals have a tiny payroll and Eric Hosmer as their first baseman of the future. The Royals don't need to make a big splash in free agency with the top prospects coming, and even if they did, they don't have anywhere near the money to sign Pujols. Pujols will not be going across the state of Missouri to Kansas City in 2012.
Odds: 1 in 1,000,000,000
When was the last time the Pirates signed a big free agent? They just don't have the payroll. Lyle Overbay (arguably their biggest free agent signing of the 2010 offseason) isn't the long-term answer at first base, but the Pirates will have to look to the farm system or lower-tier free agents because Pujols will not be a Pirate (although I could see the headline now: "Pujols a Pirate").
Odds: 1 in 90,000,000
27. Blue Jays
The Jays couldn't even sign their own big impending free agent, Roy Halladay. How in the world would they sign Pujols?
Odds: 1 in 75,000,000
They haven't had a big signing in quite a while. Prospect Brandon Allen is the first baseman is the future, and he's certainly not a sure thing, and also the D-backs made a run at Paul Konerko, but they just don't have anywhere near enough money to make a run at Pujols.
Odds: 1 in 60,000,000
If the Brewers had the money to sign Pujols, they would have extended Prince Fielder. Also, they just signed Ryan Braun to a huge deal.
Odds: 1 in 50,000,000
Ditto Brewers, but for Adrian Gonzalez. They haven't signed anybody to a big extension, but they have never had a lot of money to begin with.
Odds: 1 in 45,000,000
The Reds have a player they can build around in Joey Votto at first base, and they're a small-market team anyway.
Odds: 1 in 35,000,000
The Indians are playing out of their mind right now and you would think that they just need to continue adding fuel to the fire to keep contending. But, they have a good combination of veterans and young players right now, and they would certainly extend Grady Sizemore before signing Pujols. Not to mention that they don't have the money to sign Pujols anyway.
Odds: 1 in 20,000,000
The Twins have Justin Morneau at first base, and it's unlikely that they'll be able to afford another high-priced player.
Odds: 1 in 10,000,000
The Giants have Aubrey Huff and Brandon Belt, and we know they don't have 30 million dollars lying around.
Odds: 1 in 8,000,000
19. White Sox
The White Sox have some money, but they have both Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn. They're not signing Pujols.
Odds: 1 in 7,500,000
The Mets have had cash in the past, but we know that the Wilpons are cash-stricken and looking to add a minority owner. Even if they did somehow get the money, they'll be much more worried about signing Jose Reyes anyway. And of course, they have a promising player in Ike Davis at first base.
Odds: 1 in 5,000,000
They're getting a new owner, so you never no what their payroll would be, but they have Brett Wallace at first base, and the new owner wouldn't want to commit most of his payroll to Pujols.
Odds: 1 in 3,000,000
The A's don't have the money, but I feel like Billy Beane could pull off a crazy sign-and-trade or something.
Odds: 1 in 2,500,000
The Mariners have signed a couple of big free agents in recent years, but they don't appear to be contending anytime soon, and they have Justin Smoak, who should be manning first base for years to come.
Odds: 1 in 2,000,000
The Marlins want to make a splash as they're moving into their new stadium, and they did spend a bit more money in the 2010 offseason, but 30 million dollars is a ton of money, and unless Pujols gives the Fish a "hometown discount" because they're the closest MLB team to the Dominican public, the Marlins won't be able to sign him.
Odds: 1 in 1,000,000
The entire baseball world is hoping that the Phillies don't scrape together enough pennies to sign Albert Pujols. I'm sure Ryan Howard is hoping too.
Odds: 1 in 10,000
The Braves have Freddie Freeman at first, and they don't have limitless funds, but they've made runs at big players in recent years.
Odds: 1 in 7,500
Maybe the Tigers have money, but they have Miguel Cabrera, and they would have to catch Victor Martinez more often to fit in Pujols at DH. They'd also have to convince Pujols to play left field on an irregular basis (he did play most of 2003 in left field, but he hasn't played there since).
Odds: 1 in 5,000
The Rockies have extended Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Is there any money left?
Odds: 1 in 3,500
The Angels made runs at Adrian Beltre and Carl Crawford this past offseason, but failed to sign either of them, and they traded for the pricey Vernon Wells. The Angels don't have quite enough money to sign Pujols, and they also have two promising first baseman in Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo.
Odds: 1 in 2000
9. Red Sox
The Red Sox might have the money, but with Adrian Gonzalez at third, David Ortiz at DH, and even Carl Crawford in left field, the Red Sox would have to convince Pujols to play right field. Pujols did play 39 games there in 2001, but he has had some elbow problems since, and playing right field could kill his elbow and endanger his career. It's not impossible, but it's certainly a long-shot.
Odds: 1 in 1000
Don't completely count them out
They've spent quite a bit of money in the past. If they ever get that FOX TV deal signed, and their ownership situation resolved you never know what will happen, but the chances are certainly against Pujols being a Dodger.
Odds: 1 in 100
The Orioles are starting to spend some money, and Derrek Lee was signed to just a one-year contract, but 30 million dollars is seemingly too much.
Odds: 1 in 75
The Rangers have been spending money lately, but they already have a ton of money on the books and a logjam of players playing first base/DH including Mike Napoli and Michael Young. They theoretically could sign Pujols, but they probably will decide not to.
Odds: 1 in 60
The Nats signed Jason Werth this past offseason and Adam LaRoche is coming off the books after the season, so you never know for sure.
Odds: 1 in 40
You may think I'm crazy, but Pujols going to the Yankees is a semi-realistic possibility. It would be the same of situation as the Red Sox above with Mark Teixeira at first base, but the Yankees would certainly move Brett Gardner to give Pujols time in left field, and if they could sign Pujols, they would certainly be willing to trade Jesus Montero to give him time at DH as well.
Odds: 1 in 20
The Cubs have new owners, the Ricketts, and are dying to make Pujols a part of their team. They might actually be able to offer Pujols a 10 year, 300 million dollar contract. But would Pujols leave St. Louis?
Odds: 2 in 5
The Cardinals have been Pujols' team the past 11 years. They won a championship with him and have built a solid team around him. Why should he leave? But will the Cardinals offer him the 30 million a year?
Odds: 12 in 25
Cardinals- 48% chance of re-signing Pujols
Cubs- 40% chance of signing Pujols
Yankees- 5% chance of signing Pujols
Nationals- 2.5% chance of signing Pujols
Rangers- 1.7% chance of signing Pujols
The field- 2.7% chance of signing Pujols
It's Cubs-Cardinals for the rights to have Pujols with the Yankees, Nationals, and Rangers having outside chances and every other team barely being involved if part of the picture at all. This should be interesting.