Albert Pujols is now scheduled to be a free agent after the 2011 season after he and the St. Louis Cardinals could not come close to agreeing on a long-term contract extension. There are certain to be many teams that will vie for Pujols' services next winter, including the Cardinals, of course. But one team that should not be counted out of the chase is our very own Washington Nationals. Yes, the Nationals.
Well, at least that's what some around the league believe. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times spoke to a high-ranking league executive who believes the Nationals will be "very aggressive" in pursuing Pujols next summer. The executive's argument? The Nationals seem willing to spend, and they have intriguing talent that Pujols could lead to the promised land.
By signing Jayson Werth for seven years and $126 million in December, the Nationals showed they will spend serious money. Adding Pujols to Werth and Ryan Zimmerman would give them an intimidating middle of the order. And the No. 1 overall draft picks Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper would presumably be in their superstar prime before Pujols' deal runs out.
Keep in mind that this is just an educated theory and not a sign of any legitimate Nationals interest. However, given the Nationals' efforts to make a big splash last summer, it's certainly plausible that they'll try to make an even bigger splash when the best hitter in baseball goes on the open market.