A collective groan was heard from Cardinals Nation at 11:01 CST. The Albert Pujols self-imposed contract deadline has come and gone. No deal. Now one of the greatest players in Cardinals history is set to hit the open market. A year from now he could be hanging up an Anaheim Angels Rally Monkey in his new locker. He could be putting on a jersey with a baby bear on it, gross. Yes, Pujols is destined for free agency. That is if you believe the deadline. I don't want to.
One former Major League manager said "yeah right." I agree. There's no question that Pujols is a stand up guy, and he says no contract talks during the season. But you're telling me his agent, Dan Lozano, won't exhange an email or text with Cardinals GM John Mozeliak in the next 8 months?
Pujols says he doesn't want the contract talks to be a distraction for the team. Ok. Can you just imagine David Freese forgetting which base is first base after charging a bunt because his mind was lost in Pujols' contract thoughts? Maybe Adam Wainwright would forget which pitch Yadi called right before releasing the ball because his mind jumped to concern over Albert's deal. Major League Baseball players are pros who deal with an unbelievable amount of distractions on a daily basis. Yet they still seem to perform.
And you're telling me the contract won't be on Pujols' mind at all? I have to believe this is more about avoiding answering constant questions from us media types. I can't blame him for that. We can be persistent.
Superstar athletes have pulled off this "no contract talk" before. Hello Lebron, and goodbye Cleveland. So Pujols could certainly stick to his guns on this. I'm just hoping Lozano and Mozeliak happen to cross paths at a Cracker Barrell before October. And if Albert does successfully pull a Lebron, let's just hope he comes to realize that St. Louis is the South Beach of the Midwest.