Pujols said, “The fans know and the Cardinals know that I want to be a Cardinal for my whole career. I love this city. And when you hear all of the players that come around to this town and say, ‘You guys are lucky that you are playing in St. Louis,’ we have the best fans. I want to be a Cardinal for the rest of my career.”
The Tuesday after the season ended following the sweep by the Dodgers in the NL Divisional Series, Pujols was on a radio station in the Dominican Republic saying he was going to leave it in “God’s hands.” He said he wasn’t interested in discussing a contract extension at this time and would wait until this current contract ended in 2011. It certainly left the door open that he would explore other options.
Pujols’ tune sounded a little different for the fans back home in STL. What a brilliant move on his end. He has repeatedly said time and time again that the organization would have to prove to him that they are serious about putting a contending team on the field every year. For that, fans should be thankful. It keeps the team honest. They just won’t be able to sign Pujols, build their name and attendance off of him and then neglect the team by not shelling out enough money for veteran free agents to keep this team near the top of the division each year.
Instead, Pujols wants to play for a winner and once the Cardinals re-sign him, they’ll need to do exactly that. However, the other reason this is a good move for Pujols is come the end of the 2011 season and Pujols is not able to work out a deal with the Cardinals and does leave, he’ll skate out of town while the organization is left with the uprising from fans who will go back to October 29, 2009 and quote Albert’s statements from above.
However, I also think Pujols is a man of his word and will be fair in this process and while there is no evidence the Cardinals’ brass plans to let this team go stale, come the winter of 2011, both parties should be standing at the podium shaking hands and smiling at a new extension that will Pujols a lifelong Redbird.