Albert Pujols contract is up at the end of the year. Oh, did you already know that?
Everyone in the baseball universe already knows that, of course, and we’ve got 19 days and counting left before his self-imposed deadline to reach an agreement with the Cardinals on an extension. The two sides aren’t releasing much info on the progress of talks (to each side’s credit), but indications are that they’re still not especially close on their numbers.
If Pujols becomes a free agent in nine months, where could he go? He’s been a model citizen in St. Louis, and is more the face of their franchise than any other player in any city. He’s never played anywhere else, and he’s certainly seen how the LeBron drama played out last summer, with all the bad press he got for leaving Cleveland. I can’t help but think that even if this reaches that point, he’d come back into the fold with the Cardinals.
Unlike LeBron in Cleveland, Pujols knows that the Cardinals are capable of putting together a team that can win it all, especially since they already did back in 2006. With Matt Holliday locked up for another six years, he’s also got great lineup protection already in place for the long haul. Fans of other teams can dream about him jumping ship to a rival (like the Chicago Cubs), but once they get the final questions ironed out, expect to see Pujols mashing in middle America for a long time to come.