No Deal for Pujols: Cardinals "Remain Hopeful" Albert Will Finish Career in St. Louis

Categories: Cardinals
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It's all good, mang.
Okay, Cardinal Nation. Take a deep breath. Repeat.

We know. Your world is about to collapse. The Cardinals didn't reach a contract extension with Albert Pujols prior to today's arbitrary deadline.

"While we are disappointed that we did not reach an agreement, we remain hopeful that Albert will finish his career in St. Louis," said Cardinals chairman William DeWitt Jr. in remarks to media this morning. "Albert has been playing baseball at the highest level for the Cardinals these past 10 years, providing us with countless great memories. We look forward to many more in 2011 and hopefully beyond."

There's reason to believe DeWitt, too. Why? Because the Cardinals had practically no incentive to sign Pujols prior to the start of this season, in which he'll make $16 million playing for the Redbirds.

The team still has five days at the end of the season to negotiate exclusively with Pujols before he can field offers from other clubs. That's when the discussion will become most serious -- if it waits that long. Although Pujols and his agent, Dan Lozano, have said that they won't revisit negotiations during the season, it's hard to believe they wouldn't open an email in mid-June from Cardinals GM John Mozeliak titled, "So, how does $XXX,XXX,XXX sound?"

What's more, unlike the NFL, contracts in Major League Baseball are guaranteed. Why sign Pujols to an incredibly lucrative contract now if -- God forbid -- he suffers a career-ending injury this season?

Fortune cookie synopsis: Today is not the end, folks. It's the beginning. 

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Don Kasak
Don Kasak

Pujols may get seranaded by the Wrigley Field faithful, but I don't see him sticking around in the National League. He's got "future DH powerhouse" written all over him. I don't even think the White Sox--you know, that OTHER Chicago team--will express much interest in Pujols. He'll go to a team either desperate enough to revive its fortunes around him, like Baltimore or Kansas City, or a team that can afford him so as to get him off the market--Boston, Tampa Bay. I don't see Pujols in Yankees pinstripes.

Ben Westhoff
Ben Westhoff

"So, how does $XXX,XXX,XXX sound?" Nice one.

Handsome Jimmy
Handsome Jimmy

It will quite interesting to see how the Wrigley crowds treat Albert this season.

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