Albert Pujols has made it pretty clear that he wants to end his career in St. Louis but it doesn’t seem like a hometown discount is in order either. According to multiple sources close to the Cardinals organization, the Cardinals reached out to Pujols and made him a lucrative extension which was quickly shot down recently. There’s no telling what the Cardinals offered but I’m willing to bet it wasn’t in the 10yr 30 million dollar range it is said Pujols is seeking. Pujols is in the final year of an 8yr 111 million dollar deal.
“The Machine” has also made it abundantly clear that once spring training kicks off that he’s not going to be talking extension and it will be time to focus on preparing for the season. You can’t blame the guy for setting such parameters considering the effect it would have on his teammates. Looking at how tight the NL Central could be this year, keeping their eye on the prize will be a must for this team. I like the way Albert is going about this and I believe the man should get every last penny he is requesting. While he is 31, playing into his early 40’s shouldn’t be the same sort of concern for Pujols critics as it is most other major leaguers. He puts up consistent power numbers and wins the gold glove on a regular basis. I also feel that first base defense is the least important on the field as well. Pujols will also be setting the record book aflame during the final years of the contract.
Today, Pujols decided to give the Cardinals a minor break and gave them an extra 24 hours to get a deal done. I think the Cardinals have to give the man his money, but at the same time who else is going to pay him after the season? All the big money clubs have first base holes filled for foreseeable future (Boston: Adrian Gonzales, Yankees: Mark Texiera, Phillies: Ryan Howard) and most teams can’t afford contracts in the 30 million annual rate range. The only other teams that I could see have a real chance of acquiring him after the 2011 season are the Angels, Rangers, and Nationals. I realize the Nats just went out and got Adam Laroche to join the team, but for a player of this caliber and the way Washington made real efforts to acquire other All Star type players this offseason, I wouldn’t count them out.
Pujols and the Cardinals don’t get a deal done and he signs with the Angels next offseason. It pains me to say this, but with the way the Angels struck out this winter and how they have a real chance to have a third place finish in the AL West, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.