And the hammer in the baseball Winter Meetings has just occurred; Albert Pujols signs with the Angels, who came out of nowhere to sign him, beating the Cardinals and the Marlins to the punch. The deal; 10 years in some amount between $250-260 million. Now the Angels have signed C.J. Wilson to 5 years/$75 million and have clearly stated that they are all in. Remember, last year's Angels couldn't hit well, but had a strong rotation in Dan Haren, Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana. Well, now the Angels add Wilson to that rotation, while making the lineup infinitely better with Pujols in the middle of the lineup.
Are they better than the Rangers? I say slightly because of the pitching advantage and that the Rangers haven't finished in their dealings for the offseason. I'm certain the Rangers will add a starter, and if they do, they still have the better lineup and a slightly better bullpen (even with Neftali Feliz and Jose Ogando starting).
How about the Cardinals? Where do they go from here? Well they get financial flexibility in the future and now can start Allen Craig in the outfield while moving Lance Berkman to 1B. Also, now they have plenty of cash so they could look to upgrade CF (Carlos Beltran, perhaps), SS or 2B. I don't think Prince Fielder just moves in there because it makes sense to have Berkman at first. One thing is clear, it was an end to an era when Tony La Russa retired; now Pujols joins him in an exit from St. Louis. I guess for that reason, I'm glad they won the series over the Rangers. Of course, in the race for the 2012 World Series, the Angels have now taken two very important pieces from the participants.
Today's a day for the Angels. We'll worry about if the Angels overpaid for these guys in the future. They probably did; of course, it's still not as bad as taking on Vernon Wells contract. I still figure the first 3 years as to determine whether the Angels win on these deals. And the lack of New York-style pressure will allow Pujols/Wilson to avoid early slumping, in my opinion. Next move: where does Prince Fielder go and is there a trade left to be made to swing the balance of power.
Meanwhile, there's NFL tonight. My pick: PITTSBURGH (-14.5) over Cleveland.