St. Louis Cardinals: Are They Preparing for Life After Albert Pujols?

Casey SchermickContributor IIIMay 18, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 8: Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a double against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on May 8, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Last week Albert Pujols was seen hugging Chicago Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry during batting practice. 

This simple hug started up rumors that Pujols was beginning to talk to other teams, only adding to the speculations that he would not be with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. 

This simple hug could have been just that—a simple hug. But there is always the possibility that this could have been much, much more. 

It is never too soon to begin to speculate what could come from this. 

The Cubs could be seriously interested in Pujols after signing Carlos Pena to a one-year contract. Pujols and Chicago could be a good fit for each other because Pujols would bring a powerful bat to a lineup that is 23rd in the Majors in home runs this season. 

Pujols would also attract more fans to one of the most cherished baseball stadiums in the country.  Wrigley Field has lost some of its pride and its recognition in recent seasons because of the struggles of the Cubs.

Pujols could bring both success and fans back to the city of Chicago.

Another sign that the Cardinals could be preparing to move on from Pujols was seen on Monday night, when they moved Pujols to third base and had Lance Berkman start at first base. This could possibly mean that the Cardinals are preparing to move on and have a new man at first base. 

This move could potentially help Pujols. Not only does it help the Cardinals prepare for a new first baseman, but it also could add value for Pujols if he is able to play both first and third base. 

These are two very, very small signs, but again, it's never too early to begin speculations.