The Phillies jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 4 of the NLDS, but the Cardinals were able to come from behind to win it 5-3. The series is now level, and will head back to Philadelphia for a decisive Game 5.
The Cardinals will have their veteran ace Chris Carpenter going, but they'll still be very heavy underdogs to advance to the NLCS. If they lose Game 5, the attention in St. Louis will shift to this offseason and the impending free agency of Albert Pujols. Is it possible that today was his final game as a Cardinal at Busch Stadium?
This offseason is interesting, because two premier first baseman from the same division will be available. Prince Fielder has publicly stated that this was probably his last season in Milwaukee. Albert Pujols has said nothing like that.
The Red Sox have Adrian Gonzalez signed long term, and the Yankees are set for a while with Mark Teixeira. Is there a chance they go after someone to be a DH? I guess.
If that's the case, Fielder would be the more likely candidate. He would be cheaper, and he is more of the prototypical designated hitter. However, despite his size, Fielder is a pretty good defensive first baseman and I think he'll stay in the National League.
I also highly doubt that Pujols would consider being a DH. He is a fantastic first baseman, and has already won two Gold Gloves. I don't see why he would go to those two AL East teams if it means playing first base part-time.
What team will Albert Pujols sign with this off-season?
So what other options are there? There really aren't many. The Cubs? The Giants need some offense in the worst way and might try to add a big-time bat. The Dodgers are a financial mess right now. Who else?
I could be completely wrong, but I just can't see Pujols leaving the Cardinals. Maybe some surprise team will emerge, but I don't see it happening.
St. Louis is a great baseball city, and a really unique place to play in. I think Pujols loves playing there. The Cards are always playoff contenders, and it just seems like the best situation for him.
The days of players staying with one team for an entire career seem to be over, but if there's someone I can see doing that, it would be Albert.
There's still baseball to be played, and Albert is a professional. I'm sure this is the last thing on his mind. He's only focused on winning Game 5 and returning to Busch Stadium in a few days for the NLCS.