Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
The latest in the negotiations between Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals over an extension for the all-world first baseman is that Pujols' camp is asking to set the start of Spring Training as an informal deadline to have a deal done.
That doesn't give the Cardinals much time, if he is indeed firm on that date. Pitchers and catchers report to Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Florida in less than a month, and there seems to still be a reasonably wide divide between the two sides preventing the consummation of a deal.
Pujols is not one to give the media much fodder to talk about. To his credit, he chooses to play things fairly close to the vest in public, and for the most part, you'd never know that he's approaching a major turning point in his career. He seems to be preparing for this season just like any other.
This isn't just any other year, however, and with every passing day, Cardinal fans get more and more concerned. Speculation exists that St. Louis is looking to keep a deal to no more than seven years, and does not want to guarantee anything more than $200 million. It's realistic to think that Pujols won't be satisfied with that, unless he's willing to take a hometown discount.