As the Cardinals ready themselves to challenge the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the team. Albert Pujols will hit the free agent market this off-season, and every team with a thick enough wallet will consider making a run for his services. Perhaps no player in the league is as essential to their team as Pujols is to the Cardinals.
Of course, Pujols is not the only player the Cardinals must consider during the off-season. The team has a wide variety of players, ranging from players coming off their rookie season to journeymen in their 40's, and like every team they must decide who will be part of their 2012 strategy.
Should Pujols depart St. Louis, the Cardinals will be in the unique spot of considering whether to follow a pennant-winning season with a period of rebuilding. Should Pujols re-sign with St. Louis, the Cardinals will seek to build off their 2011 momentum and reach for the brass ring yet again.
Here we look at each player on the Cardinals 25-man NLCS roster and consider the odds that each will return to the Cardinals big league squad in 2012.