Cheap Seats

The anniversary of Albert's big deal

On Feb. 21, 2003 -- the first day position players were required to be at Cardinals spring training camp, the team called a press conference and announced Albert Pujols had been signed to a seven-year, $100-million contract.

How about a nice anniversary present from Albert and the Cardinals?

Pujols and the team have supposedly been talking about a new deal behind closed doors. It's surprising that no word has leaked out about progress, regardless of a supposed "media blackout." But I guess I can live without updates as long as the end result is good.

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Albert Pujols comments on his seven-year, $100-million contract during a press conference at on Feb. 21, 2003 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.

I still believe it is of the utmost importance that Pujols is signed before the 2010 season. He said he isn't talking about a deal and causing a distraction once the games start to count. So, if he isn't signed now, there is only a small window after the 2010 season for the Birds to get him inked or start having some difficult internal conversations about whether to pick up his 2011 and let him play out the string and hit the open market or pick it up and try to trade him for a boatload of prospects before they have to let him get away for a draft pick.

There are some who question the Cardinals' ability to afford Pujols. But I question their ability to be able to afford to let the biggest draw in the major leagues walk out the door. Albert Pujols, right now, is the soul of the Cardinals in much the same way that Stan Musial was during the 1940s, 50s and early 60s.

So how about an instant replay Albert?