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Does Pujols’ self-imposed deadline really matter?

Feb 13, 2011, 5:05 PM EDT

St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates Getty Images

Albert Pujols told the Cardinals a couple of months ago that he wants all negotiations involving a possible contract extension to stop once he arrives at spring training so that he can avoid distractions and focus on getting ready for the start of the regular season. That self-imposed deadline is just three days away and most national baseball reporters are hearing that talks are not going well.

Now comes the question: does that deadline really matter? If the Cardinals don’t strike a deal with baseball’s best hitter by Wednesday, will they no longer be allowed to make offers? Will Albert’s agent, Dan Lozano, screen any and all phone calls from the Cardinals’ front office after February 16?

St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz, for one, thinks the deadline means next to nothing.

Miklasz wrote in his Sunday column titled “What Matters Most To Pujols?” that the Wednesday deadline is “bogus” and that there is “no need to have a 19th nervous breakdown over it.” More from Berine:

If the deadline passes without a contract in No. 5’s hands, there’s no legitimate reason to assume it means the likely ending of the Pujols-Cardinals union. It doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. It doesn’t mean Pujols is going to bolt as a free agent after the season and jump to the enemy Chicago Cubs.

This spring-training deadline is merely the first checkpoint.

That’s all. Nothing more.

Miklasz makes a great point. Pujols has, time and time again, expressed a desire to remain in St. Louis for the rest of his career. He has a charitable foundation there, a restaurant, a couple of kids in school, and his wife’s family is from nearby Kansas City. If the Cardinals give him what he wants near the end of spring training, or even during the regular season, what’s to say he doesn’t accept?

  1. goldtoothbiscuits - Feb 13, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    only thing that matters is whether or not he accepts a deal

    • spudchukar - Feb 13, 2011 at 8:50 PM

      The most meaningless comment of 2011.

  2. firemarshal1 - Feb 13, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    To All Baseball Fans:

    As fans, we’re all in trouble when ANY PLAYER demands more than $20 MILLION DOLLARS per year. How can we as fans, financially support these types of salaries. Especially a family of four, with a average household income of $60,000 per year? Albert, please don’t be greedy. How much is enough? Don’t alienate your fan base. Most of AMERICA LIVES ON INCOME HOUSEHOLD OF $60,000 TO $75,000 PER YEAR. I’m not Cardinal’s fan, but a concerned baseball fan. Please be a gentleman with class.

    Tim Pompos

    • paperlions - Feb 13, 2011 at 6:02 PM

      As fans, we are in trouble when any fan thinks billionaire owners should make more money owning a team than the most talented players in the game.
      Who should make more money in 2011? Pujols or Selig?
      Who do you think should make the most money from baseball? The talented players that are fans pay to see or the super-rich owners that cry poor to have local tax payers buy them a stadium to house their expensive and highly profitable hobby?
      And Tim, player salaries don’t drive the cost of going to games, supply and demand does, as long as the money is going to be spent/made, I think that the players should be the ones that make the most money.

      • spudchukar - Feb 13, 2011 at 8:43 PM

        Nobody goes to games to watch owners own.

      • firemarshal1 - Feb 13, 2011 at 8:59 PM

        To Mr. Nameless:

        You must be an MLB player, who did not invested their own personal fortunate of 300-500 million dollars, other than sweat and hard work. I’m sorry, but I played too. That response doesn’t work for me. You must have never owned a real business in the real world. The consumers/fans paid your salaries, don’t forget it. Or maybe you should just reveal your name, like I did….. I dare you!

      • spudchukar - Feb 13, 2011 at 11:26 PM

        I enjoyed an abbreviated minor league experience. My name is Steve Braucksieker. I was of the opinion that choosing an internet moniker was standard operating procedure, not an indication of surreptitious behavior. I am also aware of the egregious use of the past participle when the present tense is called for. The use of fortunate for fortune may be a lexical Freudian slip, which illustrates your propensity to champion the commercial establishment. Your reality is separate.

    • spudchukar - Feb 13, 2011 at 9:46 PM

      Hey Pompous, I try very hard to be civil in my comments. Today I’m challenged. This is what I hear from your comment, “just say yessa’ to the masta.”

    • cktai - Feb 14, 2011 at 3:14 AM

      The 30 franchises in MLB combine to make an operative income of over $500M. One guy, a guy who can objectively claim to be the single best player to have played the game over the last 10 years, asking a $30M salary is not going to directly influence the baseball market. As long as you are not an owner, taking a voluntary pay cut will not lower the price of the product your company produces. It will only further enrich the already wealthy owners.

  3. stankfinger - Feb 13, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    He’ll sign with the Royals. Clearly.

    • scatterbrian - Feb 14, 2011 at 12:04 PM

      Pujols will be the Royals DH in 2022? Interesting call….

  4. gravytrain56 - Feb 13, 2011 at 6:25 PM

  5. mrznyc - Feb 13, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    “..nearby Kansas City” … Kansas City is 250 miles from St. Louis.

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 13, 2011 at 7:32 PM

      And how far is St. Louis from Chicago? I believe that was his point.

      • spudchukar - Feb 13, 2011 at 8:47 PM

        I hope Albert leaves if the Cards fail to pay him his just rewards. If or when that happens there is no chance he chooses the Cubs. Albert wants to win. He will not choose the cuckoos’ nest.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 14, 2011 at 2:23 PM

        300 miles. It was kind of a moot comment.

  6. Brian Murphy - Feb 13, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    Of course it doesn’t mean much of anything.

    But it gives people something to talk about, it’s fun reading and that countdown clock is pretty cool.

  7. firemarshal1 - Feb 13, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    The New MLB- per Paperlion.

    New York (both)
    Los Angles
    San Fransico

    And everybody else (baseball fans), just shut up watch one of us win the World Series. That’s what the players want. No salary cap, no wonder why MLB is fourth to the NFL, NBA, and the NHL. Wake up and smell the coffee. People are bored to death with the same winners.

    • paperlions - Feb 13, 2011 at 10:32 PM

      Have trouble with logic, don’t you.

    • scapistron - Feb 13, 2011 at 10:53 PM

      You do know that of the 4 major sports in the US the players in baseball take home the smallest percentage of league revenue. Keep in mind that does not factor in revenue from team owned television channels like NESN or YES.

    • uberfatty - Feb 14, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      Baseball players have the right to go to whichever employer will compensate them the most. FireMarshall Tim thinks that Pujols is greedy for demanding that he be paid the market rate for one of the greatest hitters of all-time. Aren’t the owners trying to get the most money for themselves as well though? That’s what this is, a negotiation. What is the point of negotiating a salary if you don’t try to get as much money as possible?

      Also, just for your reference here are the total salaries of last year’s WS teams:

      SFG – $97.8m (10th highest)
      TEX – $55.3m (27th highest)

      FMT, do you mind explaining your comment about how only the rich teams are part of the WS in the “New MLB”? I’d also be interested in how much money you think Pujols should offer to play for in his negotiations this week.

    • scatterbrian - Feb 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM

      Same winners? There have been nine different World Series champs in the last ten years, and 25 of 30 teams made the post season in that time.

      But why does this matter? Who cares if the NFL and NBA get higher ratings (I doubt the NHL’s inclusion), or whatever it is? Those two sports have a distinct advantage with the NCAA nationally showcasing future stars who then make immediate transitions to the pros. That’s why they televise their respective drafts. Also important is the fact that the NFL and NBA are both deeply rooted in gambling, America’s true national pastime. But even if it stays in third place, isn’t going to kill baseball. The hierarchy of the three sports really doesn’t matter.

  8. BC - Feb 14, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    They’ll throw 8 years, $250 mil or so at him, and he’ll sign.

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