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Sports Illustrated: Pujols likely to stay in St. Louis

In his latest pennings SI.com's Jon Heyman said the consensus of major league front office folks is that Albert Pujols is ultimately going to re-sign with St. Louis.

He polled three un-named NL general managers and none waivered in that opinion.

"Although none of the three professed to possess any inside information on the subject, their sentiments would appear to be the prevailing belief in baseball now," Heyman wrote.

"Those GMs see a variety of factors at play, however, that could lead Pujols to remain in St. Louis, not the least of which is a marketplace that almost assuredly won't include the Yankees or Red Sox, who already have first basemen Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez locked up for five and seven years more, respectively," Heyman continued. "Other reasons the GMs mentioned included the perception Pujols, 31, likes St. Louis (he did once commit to an eight-year, $116-million deal, which covered his prime years and turned out to be a cost saver for the club), the belief of one that iconic manager Tony La Russa could influence Pujols to stay and word indicating the Cardinals already offered more than $200 million over nine years, which was reported both in SI and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals also have a history of retaining their legends and are as well run as almost any franchise (owner Bill DeWitt's group amazingly recouped $90 million of the bargain $150-million franchise purchase price only by selling a parking structure adjacent to Busch Stadium)."

Heyman downplayed the idea that Pujols' bad start to the 2011 season would damage his market value. He said a bigger factor is that Pujols would demand more money than all but the top quarter or so of major league teams could afford to pay. But most of those big market clubs -- including the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Angels already have a first baseman in place.

"Pujols is going back to the Cardinals, and Mo [Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak] knows it.'' Heyman quoted a friend of Pujols as saying.

The SI scribe also mentioned that the Redbirds seem likely to pick up Adam Wainwright's two-year, $21-million option. According to Mozeliak, Wainwright's rehab is going well and he is expected to be a bargain in 2012 and 2013 at that price.

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