Position players for the Cardinals report to Jupiter no later than February 18th.
That's 31 days. 1 month. To get the most important contract any St. Louis athlete has ever signed negotiated and agreed upon. Otherwise, as predicted by the CD nearly a year ago, Albert Pujols will test free agency. After this bit of news stirred the Cardinals 'Winter Warm-Up' to a full-on heat wave of media attention, El Hombre spent the better part of Sunday afternoon no commenting the crap out of every single question.
Hell, we even got a premature exit video already.
And as we've spent the entire off-season wondering if or when something would get done, the resounding answer this weekend seemed to be no and maybe.
No. The Cardinals have not been deep into extensive negotiations with Pujols. They've had talks, but nothing too urgent according to Pujols' camp. Maybe. As is they might get something done and if they don't, then Pujols is fine with becoming a free agent. Your move Cardinals, Pujols is going to go about his business as usual this next month getting ready for the season. If the team steps up, then they step up. If not, then whatever. He's not going to starve in 2011.
So basically we've got ourselves a deadline, friends. A real, live, dirty deadline where both sides know what's at stake: EVERYTHING.
Now's not the time to get into what the guys worth and what the Cardinals are willing to pay. We'll save that for another day. But needless to say that if the Cardinals aren't on the warpath trying to figure out creative ways to get Pujols the compensation that he deserves then we can pretty much anoint 2011 as the farewell tour.
Yes. The FAREWELL tour.
Albert Pujols is going to say all the right things. How he wants to be a Cardinal for life. How it's not about the money. How's he's thankful for everything the Cardinals have done for him. But it's posturing and fluff... Pujols hits free agency- he's GONE. The Cardinals will not be able to offer him the opportunities that an LA, Chicago or NY team can. Pujols may be the best character guy the Cardinals have ever had for all we know. But no one that loves the guy will let him walk away from an extra 50-100 million dollars.
So the Cardinals have 31 days.
31 days to get that dude to sign that line that keeps him a Cardinal for life.
Or not, and let him go.
The clock ticks...