There's no denying that Albert Pujols will be the most coveted free agent at the end of the 2011 season. Since his arrival in the major leagues, back in 2001, Albert Pujols has arguably been one of the most consistently dominant figures in all professional sports.
For the past 10 years, Pujols has earned a reputation for being one of baseball's purest and most powerful hitters while possessing a durability rarely seen in today's game. Over the course of Pujols' decade as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert has seemingly done it all—nine All-Star Game appearances, six Silver Slugger awards, two Rawlings Gold Glove awards, a Rookie of the Year award, a NLCS MVP award, and already three National League MVP awards.
Simply stated, there has not been a more productive nor more highly decorated player in Major League Baseball in this millennium.
With such past success, it only seems natural that Pujols would be on the cusp of one of the most lucrative contracts in Major League Baseball history.
After choosing not to accept an offer from the Cardinals prior to the 2010 season, Pujols' season has been an audition of sorts. Although his season began with an uncharacteristically slow start, Pujols caught fire in June, and it appeared the Cardinals' slugger was primed for a big run at a big contract.
All that changed on June 19th, when Pujols collided with Wilson Betemit of the Kansas City Royals and wound up on the disabled list for just the second time in his decade-long career. A broken wrist was found to be the result of the collision, rendering Pujols inactive for anywhere from four to eight weeks.
Though Pujols has expressed his confidence in a full recovery—much like any athlete would—the likelihood of the Cardinals' first baseman returning to perennial MVP form aren't as sure a bet as many would believe.
With the St. Louis Cardinals' playoff hopes now in jeopardy, Albert Pujols' free agency fortune may be dwindling as well.
Here are five long-term effects of Albert Pujols' injury.