Cheap Seats

Dear Cardinals: Stop peaving Pujols

I guess if there is a silver lining to the mess the Cardinals have made of the Albert Pujols negotiations, it is that the best player in baseball still cares enough to be miffed about the team's shenanigans.

He must still be pretty committed to the idea of staying in St. Louis. Because if Pujols wasn't he probably would have told his representatives long before now that they should cease the conversations and wait for free agency. But it is the Cardinals, not Pujols, who refuse to negotiate in good faith.

While Pujols' heart may be in St. Louis, there is little doubt that the Redbirds are working overtime to destroy his good will. He did the right thing and played out a team favorable contract for the last several years without asking the team to renegotiate. And now that it looks like the club might have to finally pay him something commiserate with his worth as a run producer and a fan magnet, the club is balking.

I am growing more convinced by the minute that the Cardinals are willing to take another year of Pujols at a bargain price -- relative to insane baseball salaries -- and then let him walk in 2012.

It's as if the Birds don't want to throw any serious numbers out there because they're afraid Albert will accept the offer. Either that or they know they're going to make such a lowball offer that it's going to irritate him to the point that there is no chance of working something out.

I simply don't believe the Cardinals can't afford to pay Pujols an amount that would allow him to stay. And, if they really can't, I don't think that I want to be a part of baseball anymore when the team I follow no longer has the physical ability to be competitive.