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Cardinals Expected To Begin Pujols Talks Soon

Willie Springer
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St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols pumps his fist after the defeating the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3 in Game 3 in the NLCS at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on October 12, 2011.   UPI/Bill Greenblatt

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols pumps his fist after the defeating the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3 in Game 3 in the NLCS at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on October 12, 2011. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — There have been so many other distractions happening in the sports world since the Cardinals won the World Series, that there has not been much attention given to the fact that Albert Pujols has been on the free agent market since October 26. Last week, the Miami Marlins apparently pulled out all the stops by making an offer to the three-time NL MVP, but the Cardinals are expected to meet with Pujols agent Dan Lozano at some time this week during the GM Meetings taking place in Milwaukee.

Albert Pujols hit the free agent market as promised last Spring when an agreement could not be reached between him and the Cardinals. Near the very end of the regular season along with the playoffs, Pujols was patient for the most part answering what would have been a taboo question in the weeks before the historical run. Not much was said by anyone involved at the time, but now reports are finally coming out as everyone finally returns to work after some ‘decompression’ time.

First, Jerry Cransick of ESPN.com reported that GM John Mozeliak had touched base with agent Dan Lozano planning to meet in person, possibly with Pujols too, before the end of the meetings. The report also states that a source said that Pujols was surprised by the hiring of manager Mike Matheny, but that would not be a factor in the eventual decision. Pujols and Matheny were teammates in St. Louis from 2001-2004.

Second, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports mentioned in his notes that the Marlins deal offered late last week is believed to be for nine years. The Cardinals reportedly made a 9-year/$210 million offer to Pujols before Spring Training. Some dispute that amount, including Jerry Cransick, plus the Redbirds are not expected to make a bigger offer.

Pujols, 31, had an interesting 2011 season with a slow start and sustaining broken bone in his left wrist. However, he certainly did return to form by hitting .299 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI’s. He maybe did not continue that legendary streak, but instead matched Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson by slugging three homers in Game 3 of the World Series.

Aside from beginning negotiations with Pujols, the Cardinals also plan to address their coaching staff as soon as possible. By hiring new manager Mike Matheny, some changes should be expected, expect pitching coach Dave Duncan. Also, the Cardinals have shown interest in possibly retaining relief pitcher Octavio Dotel after the dropping his option just after the World Series.

Prince Fielder is the other big free agent, but the Cardinals do not plan to take any interest in the first baseman. Fielder, who has been with Milwaukee since entering the league in 2005, had his meeting with the Brewers on Tuesday.

Rafael Furcal, who also had his option declined like Dotel, met with the Milwaukee Brewers and could be looking to move on from the Cardinals.

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