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.