Photo: Albert Countdown
There are now less than 24 hours remaining until the deadline when contract negotiations between the Cardinals and Albert Pujols will cease until after the season.We think that unless the Cardinals pull a rabbit out of their hat, they are in major danger of losing Pujols.
But there is one reason for hope for Cardinals fans. Although all indications are that the two sides are tens of millions apart in contract discussions, they’ve remained amicable throughout the negotiating process.
Both sides are surely frustrated by this point, but there has been no mud-slinging, and the only reason for a deadline we’re aware of is because Pujols doesn’t want to be a distraction for his team.
If the Cardinals fail to produce a deal, Pujols will probably hit free agency next winter. But, perhaps the goodwill shown so far by both sides is an indication that Pujols isn’t a goner in free agency.
If he does go unsigned, Pujols will receive massive offers next winter that will surely drive the price up for St. Louis, so it’s tough to see why they’d wait to give their best offer. But the Cardinals are still intent on getting a deal done, and Pujols hasn’t given any indication that he wants to leave.
So maybe this is a little like NFL lockout negotiations in that neither side will budge until the clock strikes midnight. At that point, the Cardinals will be forced to cave to Pujols demands or lose him, but considering the positive attitudes displayed by both sides during negotiations, maybe a last minute agreement will be the end game.
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