It’s true: the Cardinals without Albert Pujols is like Corn Flakes without the milk. It’s like the Colts without Peyton Manning. It’s like Oney Guillen without his Twitter account.
But it could happen. Pujols has set a February 19 deadline to strike an extension deal with the Cardinals, and reports say the two sides will need a lot of steam to iron out these differences.
A recent article by Fox’s Ken Rosenthal says that Pujols wants to be recognized as the premier player in baseball, with a contract in excess of Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million deal.
However, with Pujols now 31, the Cardinals have to weigh his immense value against the potential downward arc of his career as he approaches his mid to late thirties. Then there’s the financial handcuffs they might wear for the duration of a deal, and the potential for injury, and the pressure to generate revenue if they reach an agreement, and on and on.
One thing is clear—if Pujols walks, it won’t be the end of the Redbird world. There are options for replacing Pujols, and while none of them has the cachet that Pujols wields in the Gateway City, they could keep the Cardinals moving forward after 2011...