Don’t panic Cardinals fans. Despite the report from Buster Olney on ESPN.com stating that the slugger wants a new contract in place by spring training or he will test the free agent market, shouldn’t be a concern for fans.
First, I recall reading from Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak that at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, the goal was to begin talks before Christmas and have a deal in place by spring training.
Second, there is nothing wrong with a deadline being imposed by Pujols. He has made it clear that he would want to remain a Cardinal for the rest of his career. If it is true that Olney’s sources are correct that Pujols is giving the Cardinals a deadline, isn’t he face also giving his agent the same deadline? Pujols doesn’t want this dragging on past spring training. He doesn’t want to handle the daily barrage of questioning that would come from the media during spring training and the season if lengthy contracts would draw into April, May, etc.
So, don’t panic and view this as a way of Pujols saying he wants out. Both sides want this to work and this is and should continue to be priority number one.
I believe a deal will get worked out and it will be announced before the start of spring training so the press conferenc can take place in St. Louis.