Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols had some chilling words for the home team and their fans Monday at the Winter Warm-up.
Despite the addition of Matt Holliday as proof of the Redbirds' commitment to winning, Pujols told the assembled crowd that he is in no hurry to sign a new contract to play the rest of his career in St. Louis. When asked when that time would come, Pujols said it would be when he becomes a free agent, presumably at the end of the 2011 season. Pujols also added that he was content to go play somewhere else if things don't work out with the Cardinals. Pujols didn't completely slam the door, saying his people were willing to talk before the season starts. But once it begins, he said it would be too distracting to continue negotiations.
While he did make these scary remarks, it has also been reported that Pujols said he wants to finish his career as a Cardinal, that he is grateful to the team for giving him his current contract when it didn't have to and that he is willing to take a discount to play in St. Louis to help make the team better.
I hope Pujols realizes that the Cardinals really don't have two years to get this deal done. If he doesn't sign by this time next year, the team is going to have to seriously consider trading him while it can still get something in return.
As unthinkable as the Redbirds are without Pujols, they can't give him up for a draft pick. They would at least have to try to restock the club with a bounty of prospects.
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