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Pujols countdown: D Day

It's like Christmas morning -- and Cardinals fans still don't know if they will find a fabulous present or a big lump of coal beneath the tree...

With four hours to go until Albert Pujols' deadline for a contract extension, there is no reliable word if a deal is close to being done -- or if there is enough progress to encourage the two sides to keep pushing toward a contract extension. reports that the Cardinals made an eight-year offer in the last day or two to Pujols worth more than $200 million in total -- but less than $30 million a season. Meanwhile Yahoo Sports says the eight-year offer is a myth and that not only have the Redbirds not made any new offers in at least a week and a half, they have no plans to make a last ditch offer today.

Meanwhile, one Chicago paper opines that the Cubs should open the checkbook and pay Pujols his requested $300 million over 10 years while the other says the Cubs can't afford it and that they need to use their money to fill a variety of holes instead of making a big splash at one position.

A Cubs blog this morning published a list of 12 reasons Pujols will play for Chicago in 2012 that included the Wee Bears' payroll room that will open up after this year and next, a claim that the mid-market Cardinals can't pay as much as large market Chicago can for baseball's best player and an assertion that the Redbirds have too many holes to fill in the next couple of years to invest in Pujols. That's odd since Albert is sort of a one-man team while the blog mention the Cubs have a ton of money coming off the payroll -- translation: they'll need not only a first baseman in 2012 but also a third baseman, a couple of outfielders and some pitching help at the very least.

I really want some clarity on this process because I want to know what sort of effort the Cardinals really made to keep Pujols. Did they make a legitimate offer and he's just being greedy? Or did they make a lowball offer that they knew there was no way Pujols would accept?