Albert Pujols, the best player currently playing baseball in the world announced yesterday that he is ready and willing to play for another team besides the St. Louis Cardinals.
Matt Holliday signs a free agent contract with the Cardinals. National news.
Mark McGwire walks into a hotel conference room and gets a standing ovation. National news.
But it seems that this nuclear bomb that AP5 dropped on the media during the Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up has either been ignored by the masses or we’re the dumbest group of fans on the entire planet.
Albert F***ing Pujols just said he’s fine playing somewhere else; pay me.
Let’s go to Joe Strauss of the STL Post-Dispatch:
Asked about the possibility of reaching free agency, he (Pujols) said, "If it comes to that, it's fine. That's a decision they make. If it happens, I have to deal with it. I want to play baseball. If I have to, I can play somewhere else."
I hope he means Japan, because if he ends up in a Mets uniform I might buy season tickets to Cardinal Chairman Bill DeWitt's front yard to boo every day. I’d quit my job and most likely create a Fake Bill DeWitt Twitter page.
At the very least, the Cardinals can… gulp… trade him for the most lucrative trade package ever, right?
Strauss again: By insisting that any contract talks would not extend into the season, Pujols allows the club less than three months to finalize an extension before he would gain enough service time to reject any trade.
F***. F***ety f***.
I will swear, right here, right now, on anything that you want; if Albert Pujols somehow ends up a Cub in two years, I’m quitting baseball.
The rational side of my brain tells me that this news conference was nothing more than a prepared script that Albert’s agents had him reference to let the Cardinals know that they will not be holding leverage in these negotiations. And in fairness to Albert, he did say that all things being equal he wanted to be in St. Louis.
But the mere thought of the Cardinals having to push away from the table on Albert Pujols and let him leave over money is so stupendously upsetting, that even the standard contract wrangling every player has done to ever get close to free agency gets me imagining the worst.
I mean, I got a "Pujols Pack" of tickets for 2010: It’s not like the Cardinals haven’t done their share of identifying with the man.
I’ve said it before, but I think it’s even more prescient now: letting a premiere free agent get to a club option year is playing with fire. Because if you don’t get a deal done, you’re ostensibly giving yourself six months to find a trade (that the player can veto) or give into salary demands or, worse case, lose him in a walk.
Albert caused about a 2.0 on the Freaked-o-Meter with this latest salvo. The average person wouldn’t be able to feel more than a minor tremor… but geology enthusiasts, such as myself, know that tremors are the precursors to earthquakes.
Albert leaving would devastate Cardinal Nation. A 10.0.
Things are about to get interesting.