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Albert Pujols, Michael Young and 10 Marquee MLB Players Who Could Be Moved

Camps open up across Florida and Arizona in less than two weeks, and players and fans alike are anxious to get the 2011 MLB season underway.

But change continues to be a constant, whether it’s in Texas, where Michael Young is expected to be traded sometime this week, or in St. Louis, where the Albert Pujols contract situation drags on, with each day that passes leaving the Cardinals one day closer to having to face the reality of a future without their superstar.

Before we start taking BP and shagging those fly balls under the warm sun, let’s go around the horn and investigate some of the big names who might have new homes by this time next year.

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Michael Young Trade Rumors: 10 Teams That Are a Good Fit for the Texas Ranger

Michael Young has been the one consistent face on the Rangers over the last decade, but now it seems his days in Arlington may be coming to an end.

Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock have all come and gone, but Young has stayed.  Through the losing, through the ownership quagmire, Young has been an All-Star six times, a versatile presence on the field (starting at three different positions), and a leader in the clubhouse.

But now he feels disrespected, and who can blame him?  The Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to a massive free agent contract this offseason, displacing Young at third base.  He agreed to serve primarily as a DH, but then Texas traded for Mike Napoli, who would certainly get some at bats there as well.  Were the Rangers just trying to see how far they could push Young before he pushed back?

Well, they’ve found it.  Young, forced into a corner, has done what was previously unthinkable and asked for a trade, and the Rangers have said they’ll grant his wish. 

Here are 10 places Young might be before the end of the week.

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Albert Pujols: Would Phat Albert Ever Really Leave St. Louis?

Albert Pujols contract is up at the end of the year.  Oh, did you already know that?

Everyone in the baseball universe already knows that, of course, and we’ve got 19 days and counting left before his self-imposed deadline to reach an agreement with the Cardinals on an extension.  The two sides aren’t releasing much info on the progress of talks (to each side’s credit), but indications are that they’re still not especially close on their numbers.

If Pujols becomes a free agent in nine months, where could he go?  He’s been a model citizen in St. Louis, and is more the face of their franchise than any other player in any city.  He’s never played anywhere else, and he’s certainly seen how the LeBron drama played out last summer, with all the bad press he got for leaving Cleveland.  I can’t help but think that even if this reaches that point, he’d come back into the fold with the Cardinals.

Unlike LeBron in Cleveland, Pujols knows that the Cardinals are capable of putting together a team that can win it all, especially since they already did back in 2006.  With Matt Holliday locked up for another six years, he’s also got great lineup protection already in place for the long haul.  Fans of other teams can dream about him jumping ship to a rival (like the Chicago Cubs), but once they get the final questions ironed out, expect to see Pujols mashing in middle America for a long time to come.

MLB Spring Training: Joe Nathan, Chipper Jones Look to Return From Injuries

MLB Spring Training is now just a few weeks away, and two of the biggest names looking to rebound from lost seasons in 2010 are Joe Nathan and Chipper Jones.

Nathan missed the entire season after blowing out his arm early last Spring Training and having Tommy John surgery.  But prior to that, he had been one of the best and most consistent closers in baseball.  He’s looking to regain that form in 2011.  As reported on, Nathan expects to be ready to throw with no restrictions when pitchers and catchers report on February 17th.  His return to full strength is a key for a Twins team that lost a number of relievers this offseason.

Meanwhile, Chipper Jones has also quietly been rehabbing in his attempt to return from suffering a torn ACL last August.  He had previously been contemplating retirement, walking away into the sunset with the only Major League manager he had ever known, Bobby Cox.  But the injury was one factor that convinced him to give it one more go.  As reported by, he’s battled some tendinitis recently, but has had no other setbacks, and is also planning on being ready to go in a few weeks.  With a more potent Braves lineup around him, like offseason acquisition Dan Uggla, Jones’ ability to get back in the swing of things is one of the team’s major question marks.

But if he is healthy, he’ll be another reason why the Braves can again contend this year.

Vladimir Guerrero: Does the Impaler Have Any Options Left At This Point?

Vladimir Guerrero joining the Baltimore Orioles is something that seems inevitable, but nonetheless, it hasn’t happened yet.

The O’s are still the only team confirmed to have offered Vladdy a contract, supposedly a one year deal for between $3 to $5 million.  The holdup is that Guerrero is looking for something more along the lines of $8 million.  Even that is a far cry from the 2 year deal for $16 million that he was said to be seeking at the beginning of the offseason.

The problem for Vlad seems to be that he’s past his sell by date.  Most other AL teams in need of a DH have found their solution for 2011.  Minnesota kept Jim Thome.  The Yankees signed Andruw Jones.  The Rangers are using Michael Young after Adrian Beltre supplanted him at third base.  The Rays took a chance on Manny Ramirez.  The A’s signed Hideki Matsui.  The Angels committed significant money to bring in Vernon Wells.

So while he’s certainly still a feared hitter, whatever market he once had has dried up.  His camp has tried to make the Orioles outbid themselves by floating a rumor of a better offer being out there, but that offer has never materialized, and the O’s seem to be standing firm.  Maybe he just doesn’t like Baltimore?

He’s still got a gun for an arm, but his dwindling mobility have limited his value.  Whenever he finally swallows his pride and goes to Baltimore, expect another big year from a seriously ticked off (read: motivated) Guerrero.

Freddy Garcia: Veteran Starter Headed to the Bronx After All

Freddy Garcia recently was speculated to be returning to the Chicago White Sox, where he’s enjoyed most of his success in the latter years of his career, but he seems to have done an about face.

According to a report in ESPN New York, Garcia has agreed to terms with the New York Yankees on a minor league contract.  Perhaps he thought he had a better chance of winning with the Bombers, or perhaps they just offered a sweeter deal.  Garcia will earn $1.5 million if he makes the team, with the chance to round that figure out to a cool $5.1 million through performance bonuses.

It’s a bit surprising that Garcia would have to settle for a minor league deal, coming off a highly respectable season with Chicago where he went 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA, and considering that he sports a 133-87 career record.  He also has established himself as a big game pitcher during his brief exposure to the postseason, where he’s gone 6-2 with a 3.11 ERA in two trips.

He’ll compete with fellow recent signee Bartolo Colon for a spot at the back end of the Yankees rotation, and will give them greater depth should the inevitable injury arise.  He’s also insurance in case Andy Pettitte stays home.  Oh wait, I already talked about that.

MLB Rumors: Andy Pettitte, Rickie Weeks, Eric Chavez and the Latest MLB News

While the major deals of the MLB offseason have long since had all their i’s dotted and their t’s crossed, there are still some last rounds of spring cleaning that need to take place before everything is set.

A bit of moving the furniture around, if you would.  Contract extensions to be signed, arbitration hearings to be avoided, and few free agent stragglers here and there.

So without further ado, here’s a rundown of the latest news of the day in baseball.

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MLB Hot Stove: Where Will the Top 10 Free Agents Still On the Market Land?

As the last dying embers of the Hot Stove flame begin to blacken and fade, let’s take one more look at who is still out there.

At this time of the year, free agents can often be had at a discount, hungry as players are to find a team and get down to the work of getting ready for the season to come. There are still a few potential impact players floating around, as well as many more who could prove to be valuable additions in the right place.

We’ll wade through the flotsam and jetsam and pick out those ten remaining diamonds in the rough, in this, our late January free agent reset.

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MLB Hot Stove: Wandy Rodriguez Gets a Long Term Extension With Astros

MLB Hot Stove: Wandy Rodriguez emerged last year as the new ace of the Astros starting rotation after the departure of Roy Oswalt, and now the team has rewarded him for his performance.

Rodriguez agreed to a three year, $34 million extension with a vesting option for a fourth year that would make it a $44.5 million contract.  He doesn’t have the cache of a Lee or a Lincecum, but Rodriguez has quietly made a name for himself in Houston.

He emerged in 2009, when he went 14-12 with a 3.02 ERA and 193 strikeouts.  Last season he enjoyed another solid campaign, proving that 2009 was no fluke.  Now GM Ed Wade and owner Drayton McLane will try to start the rebuilding process by locking up their lefty for the long haul.

Now if only they could get out from under Carlos Lee’s contract, then they would be all set.

MLB Hot Stove: Michael Young Not Completely Letting Go of Third Base Just Yet

MLB Hot Stove: Michael Young agreeing to move to designated hitter was one of the primary reasons that the Rangers were able to sign Adrian Beltre to be their new third baseman.

But Young is making waves now that he doesn’t think he should be done as a glove man.  At a Rangers fan event, Young told reporters “I don’t consider myself a DH.  I consider myself a baseball player.”  Young has always been the consummate professional, switching positions a number of times already to accommodate new acquisitions, whether it was Alfonso Soriano, Elvis Andrus, or now Beltre.  But he might be growing tired of always having to be so accommodating.

The six-time All-Star has a right to feel under appreciated.  He sports a .300 career average, and even won a Gold Glove as a shortstop in 2008.  We’ll have to wait and see if this causes any dissension in the clubhouse once the season starts.

Or maybe this will spur a new round of trade rumors, instead.

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