Pujols' self-imposed deadline for negotiating a new contract will expire any minute now, meaning the best player in baseball will more than likely play out the season and "test" the free agent market come November. Ahem, I don't think so.
For the record, the original deadline was noon yesterday but Pujols pushed it to noon today for one reason-- Stan Musial.
Yesterday, Musial received the presidential Medal of Freedom and Pujols did not want his contract talks to be a distraction. The Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor anyone can receive and the always-respectful Pujols knows this.
In the words of President Barack Obama, "Stan is a gentleman you would want your kids to emulate". I'm sure Pujols heard these words. I'm sure they resonated with him. He knows he's the only man on this planet that has a shot at equalling Stan the Man. Like Musial, Pujols is a passionate philanthropist. The two men care deeply about their fellow human beings.
So the questions are: Does Pujols deserve the highest contract in major league history? Yes. Can the Cardinals afford to give him a contract larger than the 10-year, $275 million deal Alex Rodriguez signed with the New New York Yankees? Probably not.
A further question is: If not the Cardinals, then who? Come November Pujols may just be a victim of his own greatness. There are only a handful of franchises that have the resources to meet his demand and some of them probably won't be in play. The Yankees have Mark Teixeira. The Red Sox have Adrian Gonzalez. The Angels and Dodgers seem to have tightened their wallets and aren't willing to pull the trigger on such a monster contract.
The team that has been mentioned the most are the Chicago Cubs. But does Pujols really want to go there and inherit the 102-year baggage that will most likely be put on his shoulders? I don't think so.
So the only logical destination for Pujols is St. Louis. Pujols is a student of the game. He knows the Cardinals are winners. He knows they will find a way to win with or without him. So why go elsewhere and start over? Besides that, Pujols also knows the rich and iconic history of the Cardinals. He knows his legacy in St. Louis. And one name will keep him in St. Louis-- the above-mentioned Stan "The Man" Musial. Pujols knows Musial. Pujols knows Musial's god-like status in St. Louis and he also knows that he's on his way to breaking all of Musial's Cardinal records. He knows that will seal his immortality.
In the end, his dream of becoming the greatest Cardinal-ever will make Pujols lower his demands and he'll find common ground with the Cardinals. Having a statue in front of Busch Stadium next to the great Stan the Man is important to him. His humility and his knowledge of his stature in St. Louis will not allow him to depart and abandon his potential-immortality of biblical proportions.
For a few extra bucks? No way!