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Albert Pujols hugs Cubs GM with Wrigley faithful looking on

May 11, 2011, 12:15 AM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

The embrace that will start a million rumors.

CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports that Albert Pujols and Cubs GM Jim Hendry shared a hug prior to Tuesday’s Cardinals-Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

And he has the picture to prove it.

A simple bro hug it wasn’t.

No word yet on whether Hendry whispered “$300 million” into Pujols’ right ear.  And we can’t imagine that there’s anything to the rumors that the Cubs inflicted Tony La Russa with shingles so that Hendry and Pujols could have some time alone.

Pujols, of course, is a free agent at season’s end, and the Cubs are viewed as a top candidate to sign him if he opts to leave St. Louis.

“I can’t win,” Hendry said, stating the obvious (he works for the Cubs after all). “I like Albert. We’ve always gotten along. He’s a great, great player. I admire the heck out of him. He plays the game the right way every day.”

Hendry tried to deflect attention by saying he also hugged Ryan Theriot, though we’ve seen no photographic evidence of such an event.

(Pic: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro informs Pujols of where he’ll be standing when he’s playing first base for the team next year.)

  1. Utley's Hair - May 11, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    In a totally unrelated story, Joe Torre got the chills.

    • jobooo - May 11, 2011 at 12:34 AM

      Better than shingles.

      Or a DUI.

    • cur68 - May 11, 2011 at 12:35 AM

      …and dictated a memo to Bud about Pujols and Hendry breaking rule 3.09.

      If Albert becomes a Cub, can you imagine the property damage outside Wrigley from home runs into the streets?

  2. fquaye149 - May 11, 2011 at 3:31 AM

    Maybe he was thanking Hendry for helping to make the NL Central so winnable these past 5 years or so

  3. paperlions - May 11, 2011 at 7:09 AM

    If they want to give him $300MM and 10 years, they are welcomed to him. I love Pujols as a Cardinal, but any year after the 5th (especially at the salary he’ll command) will be a risk, and the Cardinal owner has shown that he is determined to make a hefty profit each year rather than maintain a high payroll, making such a gamble a bad one for the prospects of the future Cardinals.

    • indyralph - May 11, 2011 at 8:28 AM

      Can we please stop this “the Cardinal owner has shown that he is determined to make a hefty profit each year” unless you have something to back it up. According to Forbes, the Cardinals made $12.8 M in 2009 (20th of 30 teams) and $19.8 M in 2010 (16th of 30 teams). That’s hefty compared to my salary, but certainly not to Matt Holliday’s or what Pujols probably wants. I tend to agree with you that $300/10 years is just too big a risk, but I don’t think it’s related to the owner wanting to maintain his profit margin. Personally, I want my team owners to be making a profit each year. The alternative is being the Mets, Rangers or Dodgers.

    • Joe - May 11, 2011 at 9:15 AM

      Mmmm, yeah. If they were prioritizing winning, they’d have made the playoffs a lot more than just seven times every 11 years or so.

    • paperlions - May 11, 2011 at 10:13 AM

      Yeah, because claimed profits are always accurate and teams never, ever hide profits for the benefit of public perception. Every time a team’s finances has been made public it has shown that teams were making much more money than they claimed, including teams claiming losses that were making plenty of profits. Until a time when a team’s books match it’s public claims, I will continue to assume that they are making 10s of millions more per year than they claim they are….
      .
      Also, for DeWitt, the team is a hobby, it is not his primary mechanisms for making money. Do you have any hobbies that provide profits in the 10s of millions annually? for which you can hire your son as president and probably other relatives and pay them salaries which are then not “profits”?
      .
      DeWitt is a billionaire, he bought the Cardinals, stadium, and parking garages for $150MM (only $60MM for the team), and made nearly that much selling off the parking garages and associated lands soon after the purchase. The team is now worth an estimated $488 million all by itself.
      .
      Revenues increase every year….expenditures on players has been relatively flat the last 7 years….DeWitt can run the team however he wants, but the current trend isn’t promising with respect to maintaining the talent level…there isn’t much cheap talent on the way from the minors.

    • BC - May 11, 2011 at 10:16 AM

      7 years, 210mil. From there, I’d add money but not years. Either that, or go with something radical like 3 years, 100mil – so he’s young and productive enough to pursue that last contract.

  4. gmsingh - May 11, 2011 at 8:39 AM

    Was that a hug or just a clever way to inject HGH into his heinie?

  5. BC - May 11, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    Any way I could pay Sandy Alderson to go hug him?

  6. giboxer5 - May 11, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    According to reports, Hendry had just gotten Albert a great deal on the new HGH shipment. If you look close enough, you can see Albert crying just a little while small volcanoes explode all over his back. Tony better subsidize the next shipment, he’s getting too old to get a drug ring up and going at yet a THIRD mlb franchise..

  7. memphisyinzer - May 11, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    If it was just a hug, it was innocent. But, if there was any “wood” involved…….all bets are off.

  8. spudchukar - May 11, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    There is no cleaner player than Pujols. Never, ever has there been even a hint of impropriety. Accuse if you choose, but your cynical comments are much more of a reflection of the sorry state of your collective minds than any explanations of the Bird’s First Baseman’s prowess.

    As to the profitability of the Dewitt owned Cardinals, PL’s comments are spot on and pretty well outlined the financial state of the team. What most Card fans expect is that the management reflect the team’s support. They consistently rank at or near #5 in both attendance and merchandising. The TV audience far surpasses any other team percentagewise, doubling and tripling many organizations. After selling off the parking rights, the Cards were bought for around $60 mil, and more was obtained in the yet to be fullfilled “Cardinal City”, a development project that has been little more than a blue sky promise.

    Most Cards fans do not expect Dewitt to compete with the Yanks, Red Sox and Phils, but a payroll around 120-130 mil, still short of the #5 ranking, but in line with the competitive times. If Dewitt chose to sell the Cards today, he could probably get 6-7 hundred mil, well over 10 times his buying price minus the selloffs in about a dozen years of ownership. As PL alluded to date, no team ever in the recent history of MLB, has gone broke. None, which makes the owner’s closed book claims ring hollow.

    Pujols wants to stay in St. Louis, but he is a justifiably proud man. Dewitt knows this and is trying to put the squeeze on Albert in contract negotiations. The rumors suggest that presently management has not even approached a 7 year 200 mil figure.
    If that intransigence continues, I hope Albert goes somewhere else, and you have no idea how much it pains me to say so.

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