…not after free agent 1B Albert Pujols verbally agreed to a ten-year, $250 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim early Thursday morning.  Acquiring the biggest fish in this winter’s free agent market was preceded by an appetizer in the form of starter C.J. Wilson, who will leave Arlington after accepting the Angels’ 5- year, $77.5 million offer. It’s a staggering turn of events, if not for the Cardinals and Rangers (though the latter might’ve resigned themselves to losing Wilson, seeing him take the mound for an AL West rival is slightly less distasteful than opening a big bag of flour in front of Josh Hamilton and George W. Bush Ron Washington), then certainly for Angels G.M. Jerry DiPoto, who was probably wasn’t told upon taking the job he’d have somewhere in the range of $325 million to lavish upon two players of his choosing. Though I’m thrilled to see Pujols leaving the National League (and dreading what his production might be like by the 6th or 7th year of the contract), the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Brookover has an reasoned take on the Pujols signing, namely, Ryan Howard was very fortunate to sign a contract extension sooner rather than later.

Had the Phillies slugger been out investigating the free-agent waters right now, he’d be No. 3 in the pecking order based on his declining power numbers the last two seasons and his recovery from surgery to replace a torn Achilles tendon.

Given those circumstances, the Phillies might have been pushing for a deal with Fielder instead of Howard. Fielder, after all, is four years and seven months younger than Howard and is coming off a much better season.

Amaro said he’s perfectly happy to have Howard for a five-year deal because he believes he may have had to pay him over 10 years if he had hit the free-agent market.

“I don’t want to pay him for 10 years,” the general manager said. “I don’t think any of those three guys would be wanting less than the other.”

Probably not, but what a player wants and what a player gets do not always match up once they reach free agency. That’s a reality Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins probably will discover before he signs a new deal, and it seems likely that Howard would have received something less than five years and $125 million had he been testing the free-agent waters at these winter meetings.