He’ll play the season as a St. Louis Cardinals, but any chance of agreeing to terms of a contract extension before the 2011 season have failed.
Albert Pujols has repeatedly stated that either a deal would get done before the season, or they could wait until after the season, but there would be no negotiations or contract talk during the season. Specifically, there would be no more talks once he reported to spring training workouts–which is, oh, right about now.
A lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan, I suppose I can go either way with this one. It is an interesting move for the Cardinals organization to allow Albert Pujols to become a free agent. Knowing that Albert Pujols wants to finish his career in St. Louis, and knowing that other organizations, e.g. New York Yankees will be reluctant to chase him due to this fact, the current season could pave the way to a mutual understanding.
At first report, it seemed that the contract issue was related to years–Pujols entering the season at the age of 31, and hoping for a 10 year deal. That’s simple math. It doesn’t make sense. Yet…if you’re a Cardinals fan, and you want to see Albert break more records as a Cardinal, that’s probably what it’s going to take. However, more than years–which both sides seem to have found a point of agreement–it’s the money.
The greatest player in baseball, and by the numbers, one of the greatest of all time, it would seem this contract should cast a new die–set the present paradigm. Baseball fans are well aware that it is just another sign that a salary cap in the game is so far overdue that it’s embarrassing.
Numbers are out there in the 30 million/year range. St. Louis can’t afford that. Not realistically. There are other fellas that need to be retained who, in the grand scheme of winning and losing, are just as important as Albert Pujols. In terms of importance to the St. Louis community, however, that’s a tough case to crack. Camps are divided.
As of now, we can probably expect to see “The Machine” as an unrestricted free agent following the 2011 season. Cardinals fans, soak it up. Fans of big market teams, make your birthday wishes known.