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No way, Jose

Talk out of Detroit is that the Cardinals are NOT in on the Jose Valverde bidding.

And that is the logical conclusion, although it would have been exciting to add one of the game's most exciting closers to the mix. Valverde is simply asking more money that the Cardinals admit to having to spend in 2010, so the rumors yesterday that they had made the former Astros and Diamondbacks an offer didn't ring true.

Valverde has reportedly turned down $8 million from the Tigers, and the St. Louis payroll stands at $92-$93 million with an outfielder, fifth starter and utility infielder needed and a $100 million budget.

The Cardinals, of course, could raise the payroll if they wanted. But it's not that simple. At this point, they really need to be focusing on their efforts to re-sign Albert Pujols. So they need to maintain as much financial flexibility as possible. 

While Pujols can be kept in house through 2011 with his current deal, his agents may want that deal torn up and the new contract to start immediately since he is underpaid -- at least as far as major league superstars are concerned. With talk that Pujols could score a $30 million a year contract on the open market, it might cause tensions at the bargaining table if the Redbirds ask him to take a little bit more than half that for the next two years AND then they ask for a hometown discount on the new deal, too.