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2012 Cardinals house cleaning

Fretting that Albert Pujols might abandon the Cardinals in 2012? Well, he might not be the only one, several of the team's most prominent players could be getting ready to embark on their last trip through the National League in a St. Louis uniform.

Four of the Cardinals major role players will be free agents at the end of 2011. Another half dozen could be freed if their options aren't picked up or if the Redbirds don't want to risk offering them arbitration.

Here's a look at some of the biggest role players and their contract status:

 C - Yadier Molina can be a free agent after the season, although the Birds are likely to pick up his $7 million option. He'll either get a healthy raise over his $5.25-million 2011 payday or a $750,000 buyout.

1B - Albert Pujols will likely head for free agency after extension talks are called off Wednesday. It would take a miracle, by all accounts, to work something out before then. Pujols supposedly wants 10 years and a total of around $300 million to stick around. The Redbirds are determined to make sure that doesn't happen here.

2B - Skip Schumaker is a free agent after the two-year, $4.7-million contract he signed before the 2010 season expires.

3B - David Freese is under control for the foreseeable future with only a little bit more than a year and a quarter of major league service time under his belt.

SS - Ryan Theriot is eligible for his third go at arbitration after the 2011 season.

LF - Matt Holliday is under contract for five years beyond the 2011 season.

CF - Colby Rasmus is eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2011 season.

RF - Lance Berkman will be a free agent at the conclusion of the 2011 season.

SP - Chris Carpenter can be a free agent after the 2011 season if the Cardinals don't pick up his $15 million club option.

SP - Adam Wainwright has a club option for 2012 and 2013 which vested when he was a finalist for the 2010 National League Cy Young Award. But the Cardinals could void the deal if he has arm problems between now and then.

SP - Kyle Lohse enters the last year of his four-year, $41-million contract in 2012. It's appropriate at this time to mention that the reason Lohse got such a ridiculous contract is because the Cardinals were desperate to sign SOMEONE after they let 3/5 of their starting rotation reach free agency at the same time in 2008.

SP - Brian Westbrook is signed through 2012.

SP - Jaime Garcia will be elible for arbitration.

CL - Ryan Franklin will be a free agent at the end of the 2011 season.

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