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La Russa on Pujols: A potential 'spectacular distraction'

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08:27 AM ET 02.14 | As of Sunday night, Albert Pujols had reportedly turned down a contract proposal from the Cardinals, possibly triggering the Pujols-imposed cease in negotiations with St. Louis. The Cardinals may indeed be more comfortable allowing other clubs to help sculpt Pujols' market within free agency rather than to negotiate in a vacuum. A source familiar with Pujols described the 10-year-veteran as "at peace" with the situation. ... Tony La Russa, breaking a virtual cone of silence that has surrounded the issue, acknowledged unresolved negotiations with Pujols could become a "spectacular distraction potentially," but hastened that "we won't allow it to be." He instead called it a 'spectacular excuse" should the club underachieve this season.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Albert Pujols, Getty Images Albert Pujols, Getty Images
February 14, 2011  08:36 AM ET

Oh, this is not good! He's coming up with excuses before Spring Training has even started!

Comment #2 has been removed
Comment #3 has been removed
February 14, 2011  08:51 AM ET

I think if Pujols doesn't sign by tomorrow he will go on a hitting clinic to up his worth to all the other teams.

February 14, 2011  09:05 AM ET

This divorce is inevitable. I've felt Pujols would test free agency no matter what the Cardinals offered for two years now. All the signs were there, but the media ignored it.

I don't care whether Pujols can handle the distraction. This is going to be a circus which will greatly affect the entire team. It's best to just rip the band aid off as soon as possible. I would seriously consider sitting Pujols until he decided to discuss either a contract or a trade. The season will be lost anyway with the media circus which is going to follow the team every step of the season.

February 14, 2011  09:08 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

This divorce is inevitable. I've felt Pujols would test free agency no matter what the Cardinals offered for two years now. All the signs were there, but the media ignored it.I don't care whether Pujols can handle the distraction. This is going to be a circus which will greatly affect the entire team. It's best to just rip the band aid off as soon as possible. I would seriously consider sitting Pujols until he decided to discuss either a contract or a trade. The season will be lost anyway with the media circus which is going to follow the team every step of the season.

IMO, the Cards need to make their best offer now. Whatever it is, just put it on the table and see where they stand. If Albert rejects it, then at least you know he's gone, you then try and trade him and move on before the season starts. I know he said he would reject any trade, but come on would he really want to put up with all the negativity he would receive for the entire season?

February 14, 2011  09:10 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

IMO, the Cards need to make their best offer now. Whatever it is, just put it on the table and see where they stand. If Albert rejects it, then at least you know he's gone, you then try and trade him and move on before the season starts. I know he said he would reject any trade, but come on would he really want to put up with all the negativity he would receive for the entire season?

I read somewhere that they have. I would love to know what those numbers are..

February 14, 2011  09:12 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

I read somewhere that they have. I would love to know what those numbers are..

you and me both

February 14, 2011  09:14 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

I read somewhere that they have. I would love to know what those numbers are..

Everything I've read says the yearly dollars aren't the issue. It's the years. They've offered him 7 years guaranteed. It's completely unreasonable to ask top dollar for ages 39 through 42. Paying that kind of money though age 38 is risk enough. Just because the Steinbrenners lost their minds doesn't mean the rest of the league should follow.

February 14, 2011  09:21 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Everything I've read says the yearly dollars aren't the issue. It's the years. They've offered him 7 years guaranteed. It's completely unreasonable to ask top dollar for ages 39 through 42. Paying that kind of money though age 38 is risk enough. Just because the Steinbrenners lost their minds doesn't mean the rest of the league should follow.

If that's the case, they need to get his approval and trade him now.

February 14, 2011  09:22 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

Oh, this is not good! He's coming up with excuses before Spring Training has even started!

I had the exact same thought when I read this, stargate.

February 14, 2011  09:25 AM ET

Its hard to argue with Pujlos that he commands more than, say, Ryan Howard's $120M deal from last year. No argument. But then $300M sounds kind of kooky if you combine with a 10 year deal which is even sillier since he'd be 40 by then. I agree with CardsFan2 that 35-37 is when the body starts breaking down and can't manage to play 140-150 games in the 162 season. 7 years sounds like a great deal to me, and if AP attracts anywhere near $200M I think he should jump for it. The economy has depressed attendance in a lot of big markets so even cash heavy franchises like Boston aren't necessary going to take the risk of concentrating so much long term payroll $ in one player. Especially when Boston has the talent they do.

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February 14, 2011  09:31 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

Everything I've read says the yearly dollars aren't the issue. It's the years. They've offered him 7 years guaranteed. It's completely unreasonable to ask top dollar for ages 39 through 42. Paying that kind of money though age 38 is risk enough. Just because the Steinbrenners lost their minds doesn't mean the rest of the league should follow.

If the yearly dollars are where he wants them and the Cardinals have offered seven guaranteed years, then I put the blame for this squarely on Albert. He can't legitimately expect the Cards to guarantee 10 years.

Regardless of the money he eventually gets paid, Albert won't have it as good elsewhere as he does in St. Louis. If he makes that mistake, then he is not nearly as smart as I thought he was.

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February 14, 2011  09:33 AM ET
QUOTE(#17):

Seriously? Haven't they already discussed a contract? You sound like a cry baby fair weather fan. I can say this because I have faithfully rooted for the Red Sox for the last 50 years, no matter what happend.My best MLB friend is a Cards fan. I don't think he would accept not trying to win it all this year.

I agree with that. With looming free agency, Albert might have a monster year, and the pieces are definitely in place to contend. The biggest issue will be if the media creates a distracting sideshow all year that drags the team down.

February 14, 2011  09:38 AM ET
QUOTE:

Oh you definately do not trade him at this point. That is totally foolish. Here is another scenario to consider:Lets the say Cards are out of it near the trading deadline. Is he more or less marketable as a trade?

The pieces you could get for Albert now, would go a long way to rebuilding your team. It makes a lot more sense than losing him and getting nothing in return. And who knows, if he receives no better offers next winter, the Cards could sign him then.

February 14, 2011  09:39 AM ET

Such angst from the Cardinal fans. The season is over! Pujols is gone! Bench him! Trade him! Wait, it's February.

February 14, 2011  09:40 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

I read somewhere that they have. I would love to know what those numbers are..

Last I heard - have no clue if it's true - was 7 years @ $28M/year

 
February 14, 2011  09:41 AM ET
QUOTE(#14):

I had the exact same thought when I read this, stargate.

I fear this will not gonna be a good year, Ten!

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