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Pujols contract situation becomes a mass media circus

The circus is officially in town.

Ever since the news broke over the weekend that Albert Pujols was headed to free agency if a deal isn't in place by the start of spring training, writers across the country began speculating where Pujols will land and penning their first draft of the Cardinals' obituary. Here are a couple of samples guaranteed to turn your stomach:

Here's an Orioles blog salivating over the though of Pujols in orange and black.

Granted, this guy probably doesn't see what Albert has to say on a daily basis. But I'm pretty sure that The Mang's insistence that he wants to play for a team that has a chance to win every year counts Baltimore out. At least until the Orioles somehow get out of the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox.

He also repeats a common theme that New York and Boston won't be in the Pujols bidding because both teams are likely to have a first baseman under long-term contract. But I am not willing to rule out the possibility that those clubs find the chance to sign the best player in baseball too good to pass up. As long as Albert Pujols has a bad throwing elbow, the possibility of him becoming a designated hitter will always be a possibility. Or what if one of those clubs signs Pujols and tells their incumbent first baseman they're moving to DH?

Click here to read Fox Sports' reporter Ken Rosenthal's thoughts about why losing Pujols would "devastate the Cardinals."

The worst part about Rosenthal's report is that it's true. Despite the pricetag, there is no way the Cardinals could replace Pujols' production or his drawing power with replacement free agents or draft picks. If Pujols leaves the Cardinals will have to head to the open market for talent, which means they'll overpay for it.

Here a Reds blogger imagines (with glee) a Cardinals lineup and clubhouse without Pujols

This fellow needs to stop counting Disney warm and fuzzies and rainbows long enough to think about what it would be like if Pujols signs with another big market team with deep pockets and a ton of money coming off the books in 2012... The Cubs. If he thinks the Cardinals are bullies, how about giving the best player in baseball to the loathsome Wee Bears. Now that's a world I don't want to see.