Pujols as teammate? It’s far too early, but Marmol can dream
By GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org February 16, 2011 11:12PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
MESA, Ariz. — When informed that Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals had reached Pujols’ deadline on contract talks Wednesday without resolution, Cubs closer Carlos Marmol didn’t hesitate.
“The Cubs should bring him over here,’’ Marmol said. “Then I don’t have to face him anymore. … Who wouldn’t want that guy?’’
Let the speculation begin — or at least ratchet up to a new level.
A lot can change between now and the time Pujols says he’s willing to talk contract again — next fall when he becomes a free agent. And some in the game expect him eventually to agree to stay with his original team.
But if the best hitter in baseball hits the free agent market, the Cubs could be one of a select few teams — with maybe the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers — among big-market, deep-pocket teams with a need at first base.
“He’s the most consistent player I’ve ever played with, that’s for sure,’’ said pitcher Braden Looper, a Pujols teammate for three seasons in St. Louis. “I mean, not only consistent but consistent like ridiculous-homers and RBI-ridiculous consistent. Every year you can book it. It’s always good to add a player like that. And he’s a great teammate, especially for being a superstar.’’
Whether ownership would make enough money available to go after Pujols is unclear, even with some big contracts falling off the books after this season — including half of first baseman Carlos Pena’s one-year, $10 million deal.
For now, the Cubs officially aren’t talking about another team’s player or offering signs of what their intentions might be if the opportunity arises.
“He ain’t going anywhere, that’s for damn sure, right now,’’ Cubs manager Mike Quade said. “He’s going to be somebody we have to get out and somebody we got to beat, and I don’t care what happens contract-wise right now with him.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Carlos Pena knock the daylights out of the ball. That’s all that really matters to me right now.’’
Asked whether he’s a guy who uses supplements, Quade said, “Orange juice and V-8 — those are the supplements that get me through now.’’
◆ Catcher Welington Castillo arrived at camp after resolving visa issues — getting a playful smack on the back of the head from Tyler Colvin when they saw each other in the clubhouse for the first time since Castillo’s broken bat head impaled Colvin in Florida last September.