While joy heralds Cardinals pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in four days, there’s much more being talked about than the upcoming season. And now it appears, according to Matthew Leach at Cardinals.com, that the deadline for the Albert Pujols contract talks is one week from today. (There are numerous deadlines floating around out there, though. Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has being saying Feb. 15 and the Albert Pujols Countdown from Matt Sebek has Feb. 18. Tick-tock … )
Regardless of an actual deadline, one thing is certain: real facts about the contract talks are scarce. This is not new; from the very beginning, both sides said their plan was to keep negotiations private. But that doesn’t stop anyone and everyone from chiming in with their speculation, thoughts and rumors about how things are going. And everyone seems to be “hearing” something different, with the latest “news” out there sparking more panicked conversations and tweets among Cardinals fans. Now, granted, some of these anonymous sources, especially those quoted in articles by Cardinals beat writers, may be offer real glimpses of the discussions as they wind their way through the process. (And a contract negotiation IS a process.) But the others? Some seem downright laughable.
(By the way, an anonymous source told me that Albert will not sign unless his son A.J. also is signed to play second base. That’s the latest snag in the contract talks, given A.J.’s age, but Albert is adamant. Apparently, John Mozeliak is considering it, but he needs to find out Tony La Russa’s feelings about A.J. first.)
It’s likely this flapdoodle of coverage will continue to increase in the next seven days (or six, or eight) days. And, if no contract is signed, we’ll see Photoshopped pictures of Albert in every uniform out there, with constant talk about why he’s going to this team or why he’s going to that team — or even more than we already have.
My personal opinion is that he will sign with the Cardinals, and it will be announced within the next week — Tuesday sounds good. Reading this article only boosts the positive thoughts, as I can’t imagine Albert discussing the contract talks with virtual stranger Cardinals fans if his intention wasn’t to remain in St. Louis.
So, what’s your opinion? Will Albert re-sign with the Cardinals? And, if so, when? And what’s the latest rumor you’ve heard?