Overstatement for effect.

The St. Louis Cardinals, fresh off a playoff sweep, are going to have to make some tough personnel decisions this winter. And all of those moves could hinge on one move, that technically doesn’t have to be made until 2011. That would be extending the greatest hitter in baseball, Albert Pujols, beyond his current deal. Once the Cardinals know where his situation stands, they can figure out whether they can sign someone like Matt Holliday to a long-term deal.

But Pujols sure isn’t making things easy on the Cardinals. This week he said he isn’t even thinking about a contract extension with the Cards.

General manager John Mozeliak on Thursday admitted “surprise” to Pujols’ comments Wednesday in an interview with a Dominican radio station. Pujols told the station in his native country that he feels no urgency to enter talks regarding a possible contract extension the Cardinals hope would tie him to the franchise for the remainder of his career.

El Hombre’s remarks came several days after he was the first player to leave Busch Stadium following the Los Angeles’ Dodgers Division Series sweep of the favored NL Central champions. Pujols again declined to speak to local media on Sunday.

The comments to CDN 92.5 FM especially surprised a club that has made discussion of a deal an offseason priority. Pujols is under contract for next season and the club retains an option for 2011.

Pujols insisted during his radio interview that money won’t be his primary focus when and if talks occur. He also told the station that he had referred Mozeliak to his lead agent, Dan Lozano, when Mozeliak approached him on the matter. STLtoday.com.

How did I not know that folks in Cardinal land called Pujols “El Hombre”?

It’s possible that Pujols is just in a sour mood right now, given the playoff outcome. But I can imagine that fans are feeling a little bit of frustration with The Man, who holds the Cardinals’ offseason plans in his apparently manly hands.

  • Cardfan

    Nice header! SI already has the rumor that he’ll go to the usual suspects – Yankees, Red Sox, Mets.

    I know that it is hard to imagine in this Boras-infested league that a premier player would say that he does not worship at the altar of the almight dollar – or that he doesn’t measure his self worth on how his contract would rank in history. It is just funny to see how the press unearths a story in the most insignificant comments.

    AP isn’t going anywhere. He will stay with the Cardinals and it will be for completely different reasons on both sides of the negotiating table. The Cardinals want a face of the franchise that won’t disappoint with steroid scandals and tabloid bs. They want someone who sells tickets and they realize the collective breath-hold that takes place every time AP comes to bat in StL. Just the rumor of trade talks would be a PR nightmare for the organization.

    On AP’s side of the table, he’s looking for a positive legacy – both on and off the field. He hates being pitched around and he’ll want the Cardinals to step up for a #4 so he’ll see more pitches. He just wants to compete. He has too much respect for the game and would, in my opinion, take a discount for the Cardinals to secure the necessary talent. Don’t look for him to have the biggest contract in baseball next year (even though he deserves it on paper). He may end up with the longest one, though.

    And yeah…. I guarantee he is pissed about laying down for the Dodgers!

    I do believe that Holliday is gone. Can’t see him being able to deal with his playoff failures very well. StL fans are over it, however I don’t know if he will be. Be ready for some competition on Bay…

    • Ace

      You have to wonder at what point a guy’s salary – on any team other than the Yankees or Red Sox – becomes just not worth it, you know? That’s what I wonder.

      • Cardfan

        They could easily tie up a quarter to a third of their yearly payroll in AP. That alone could send any sane GM/owner screaming for the exits. There will be some soul-searching and quite a few alternatives battered about before all is said and done.

  • http://cardinalsgm.com Cardinals GM

    That’s one of the most foolish headers I’ve read.

    “Albert Pujols Hates the St. Louis Cardinals”

    Just because the guy doesn’t want to talk contract 1 freakin day or even 1 week after the season ends doesn’t mean he hates anything. He probably wants a break. And I’m sure himself along with many others are still a little bitter coming off a terrible series loss.

    You can keep dreaming, but AP is not going anywhere….

    • Sarcasm

      Hello there Cardinals GM, I don’t think we’ve met.

    • Ace

      CardsGM, as the Sarcasm comment notes, the header was a purposeful overstatement, made in a sarcastic manner. It’s, like, a joke. We do that kind of headline here (i.e., Subject verbs object) – sorry if it’s misleading.

  • ambrosio

    i think pujols should stay with the cardinals
    even though they can do way better with some other team
    carndinals really need a good first basement and a good power hitter
    hitting over 30 HR every year everyone knows pujols can white the white ball pretty well
    pujols in one of my favorite players not only because of his power but his respect for the game

    • Cardfan

      I miss my first basement. We don’t have ’em in California – have to stick all the crap in the garage…

      • Ace

        Snap. Snap.

  • Jonathan

    Pujols will stay with cardinals. I just talked to him yesterday. He said he’s good with 20 mil a year.