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Jupiter Journal: Spring sum up

After their 10-5 win Sunday over the Mets, the Cardinals have completely turned around a shaky spring start and improved their record over the .500 mark for the first time to 12-11.

The pitching has looked much better lately -- both starters and bullpenners -- and the offense reversed its recent struggles Sunday with a 19-hit attack that showed what the Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday powered offense is capable of doing.

The bench, once a huge question mark, rounded out nicely with Felipe Lopez (although he has struggled to hit this spring) added into the mix. Julio Lugo is a valuable veteran option Allen Craig has done everything the Cardinals have asked of him to play himself into the mix.

The only true disappointment I have with this spring is the fact that the Cardinals were unable to work out a contract extension with Albert Pujols. I really don't think there is any good reason to wait to negotiate because Albert isn't going to get any cheaper. The closer he gets to free agency, the more likely he is to leave.

It was speculated last week in the media that the front office is reluctant to make Pujols an offer because it doesn't want to offend him and stir him up. Seriously? That's not a good attitude to have. And if that is the approach the Cardinals are going to take, then the odds of Pujols being a Cardinal for life are looking pretty slim.

I just don't get it, three years ago the Cardinals were sailing along with a 100-million payroll and a long streak of success. Now they have fallen behind other clubs in terms of competitiveness, letting their spending drop to $90 million while clubs in similar markets are spending $125 million or more.

I thought the Cardinals should have tried to sign Pujols last offseason. It's depressing to think that we could watch the greatest player in franchise history walk away in his prime when we should be thinking about how promising the 2010 season looks.