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Time to pay the piper

According to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said it is top priority to try to sign superstar Albert Pujols to a multi-year contract extension over the off-season.

It's good to hear. I wish the team hadn't waited this long. Pujols' value only seems to go up as time goes by. And he will be at an all-time high for leverage when he collects another MVP award over the Winter.

It will be interesting to see how much of a hometown discount Pujols is willing to give the Redbirds. Heyman believes Albert could get $30 million a year on the open market. Very few teams could afford to give that kind of cash to one player. And St. Louis isn't one of them.

The Cardinals have already committed $100 million to Pujols. Would $200-$250 more be an insult? Hardly. Will the players union let him take that sort of a discount even if he wanted to? That's a good question.

DeWitt has also said the Cardinals plan to try to bring back Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa, who can be free agents at the end of the year. If they are successful, the Birds will have a solid core that includes those players and Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, Kyle Lohse and Colby Rasmus together for at least three years.