Albert Pujols is not going anywhere. In this day and age of selfish athletes and overpaid stars, we have become disillusioned with the idea that there are no longer people out there that have an allegiance to a team and its fans.
We have come to assume that if a player is not locked up under contract for years, there is most likely going to be a drawn out “trade me or else” situation that negatively effects the team.
In the steroid era, there is no reason to believe that anyone is clean. Pujols has risen above this speculation and consistently preformed at the highest level.
He means more to the Cardinals and the city of St. Louis than any other player.
Here are the reasons that Albert Pujols will be a Cardinal for life.
The Cardinals have shown that they are willing and able to open their checkbooks for top players. There are rumors that Pujols is seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 years and $300 million.
Based on the highest paid player in the league (A-Rod) receiving $275 million over 10 years, it does not seem that this is an unreasonable price. That being said, there will have to be a middle ground met because both the Cardinals and Pujols know this will financially hurt the team in the long run.
This word was thrown around a lot during Lebron's decision to leave Cleveland, but I do think this matters to Pujols. Consider All-Star weekend in St. Louis in 2009. All of the commentarors spoke about it being "Albert's weekend."
You could see his strong tie to the city and feel the lov they have for him. The fans would not understand a player of his caliber and stature leaving to go somewhere for $2 million more dollars a year.
Pujols set a date to end negotiations. This is not the date that he determines he will no longer be a Cardinal. This date was set so that there would not be any distractions over contract negotiations during the season.
Of course, the media took this and spun it out of control. As stated earlier, there is a feeling that players are going to leave their middle market teams for the bigger markets with better exposure. The media wraps their heads around this idea and runs with it.
What makes bigger headlines: "Pujols quietly stays with hometown team" or "Traitor Pujols signs with Yankees"?
The Cardinals were in the thick of the playoff race last year before being bested by the Reds in the NL Central. Pujols has been to two World Series, a feat that is not taken for granted in the baseball world, and has won a title of his own.
The pieces have been around him for successful runs in the playoffs, making his current situation more ideal than he probably could find elsewhere.
The Cardinals fan base is one of the best in the game. They stand by their players and compared to Cubs fans (a potential suitor) they are far easier on their stars.
They take care of their own and love the hometown guys. Pujols would be crazy to leave this place that he has been at for 10+ years.
So we heard the compelling arguments as to why Pujols will stay in St. Louis, but why not think about the possibilities for a few minutes....
Think about the possibility of one of the greatest players in sports history to hit the open market. The last time that happened, A-Rod received 10 years and $252 million. This number should increase for Pujols.
In our wonderful capitalist society, with no salary cap, teams can go crazy with the prices that they pay this star. The Cardinals can give Pujols top dollar, but so can about 10 other teams.
Many consider the idea of Legacy overrated. His time in St. Louis has been great, but as you see in Miami, people are starting to realize how valuable Lebron was, and how bad Cleveland seems to be.
Pujols has always been a clean and nice athlete that has never rubbed people the wrong way. He can shape his legacy any way he wants, on any team he wants.
The Media can spin things however they want, but they cannot make up facts. The Cardinals and Pujols are not that close on money yet, and this media frenzy will continue throughout the season.
You better believe that there will be a ton of trade talk that will undoubtably come from the media and make an impact on Pujols' ability to focus.
The NL Central is one of baseball's most competitive year in and year out. The Reds are the defending division winner, the Brewers acquired top flight pitcher Zach Greinke, and the Cubs once again reloaded via free agency.
The Cardinals are a good baseball team, but are far better with Pujols in the lineup making it all work.
Anywhere he goes, fans will love him. He is one of the best baseball players to ever grace the diamond, and any team would be lucky to have him.
Take for example a team like the Cubs. The city of Chicago would embrace Pujols like a God, and for good reason. He will make any team much better and bring any fan base to their knees, bowing down to him for his immense talent and home run trot.
While it seems unlikely that Pujols will remain a Card, the longer this drags out, the harder it will be for the team to re-sign him.
There is no reason to believe that the Cardinals are not the front runners to keep Pujols' services, but there are many teams out there that would trade the farm for him.
He can play multiple positions and prolong his career in the American League
I'm not saying he will be gone, but do not buy your season tickets for 2012 yet....
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