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It's time to wheel or deal for PujolsPosted Thursday, December 8, 2011, at 7:51 AM
By COREY NOLES
I'm not sure if it's from a lack of sleep or just a general frustration with the entire process, but I'm really beginning to feel that the time for a resolution for Albert Pujols needs to come soon.
So far, the team has done everything except hand over the keys to Busch Stadium and rename it "5 Field" to keep Albert in St. Louis. My concern is that maybe the numbers 10/300 were floated around too much last offseason. A price tag like that is simply not possible for virtually any team, as I think has been made evident in recent days. Shy of that number, the Cardinals have offered the things he insisted he would have to have to sign.
You want money? Here's $220 million.
You want years? How about 10 of them.
You want love? Where will you ever have more of it than here?
Want a statue? Yours was unveiled just a few weeks ago. In a few years, you will have one built right next to Stan Musial. Is there a bigger honor?
Speaking of "The Man" there's a picture of Stan Musial that surfaced Wednesday of him holding up a sign saying "All I want for Christmas is for Pujols to be a Cardinal." I mean my goodness! Come on, now.
What exactly are you holding out for now?
I saw a joke online yesterday that Bill Dewitt had reportedly purchased the Blues to include in the contract. Thanks goodness it wasn't the Rams. That could have been a deal breaker on its own. Of course, that's not true, but I still wonder what else we're waiting for.
Frankly, I'm not a proponent for the 9-10 year contract to begin with. The idea of handcuffing a franchise like that scares me to death. It scares me in the same way my first mortgage did. I'm glad to have it, but have I lost my mind?
I really think that were he in the hunt for a shorter contract, his average annual salary would be considerably higher. Those numbers like $25-30 million are a much cheaper risk that they would be when speaking in terms of a 10-year deal.
I know he's always spoken of wanting to win, but strapping the team you will be playing for beyond what can be sustained is a sure-fire way to earn millions on a team that can't afford to compete.
Another major concern for Albert is that these negotiations are slowly bruising his reputation as a Cardinal. Spend about five minutes at a social networking site or chat with a friend for a few minutes and you will notice that people are beginning to question just how genuine Albert is. To the fans, it looks like we've given him everything he has asked for and now he still won't put the ink to the paper.
I know there's more to it than that, but that's not a reputation he wants to keep. Albert has become a legend in St. Louis baseball and will be for centuries to come if he signs this deal. This deal just further solidifies his place in history. If he jumps ship for the Angels over what amounts to less than $1 million dollars per year, he'll be viewed as baseball's LeBron James. Knowing what I know about him, I can't imagine that being something he would view as acceptable. Of course, at one time, neither did LeBron.
It's time to hammer out the details and wrap things up.
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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.
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