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Cardinal first baseman Albert Pujols told the St. Louis media he wants to remain a Redbird for life.
Okay, Cardinal fans you can breathe easier now. That a joke by the way.
Cardinal nation was abuzz about mixed messages Pujols apparently gave in a recent interview about a week ago. The key word there was apparently. I believed all along Albert would remain a Cardinal.
Basically what Albert said in the latest interview is that his contact status (two years) is not a concern and he wants lifetime Cardinal status.
Albert knows a good thing when he sees it. St. Louis has great fans. The Cardinals have a winning tradition and it's one of the stellar franchises in the National League and all of baseball.
No. 5 is the best player in baseball. He should belong to one of the best teams in baseball. It just makes good sense.
Why do you think Pujols and St. Louis make a great fit?
I have to admit this one surprised me. Mark McGwire coming back as the Cardinals' hitting coach.
Once I moved on from the shock, I was excited.
No, I am not turning away from McGwire's steroid cloud. I hope Big Mac addresses the situation and says either "I did or didn't do it." Confession they say is good for the soul. Yea or nay, it will be good for McGwire, the Cardinals and Cardinal fans.
McGwire was such a presence with his somewhat brief Cardinal stay. He is basically returning to the Cardinal family. He turned down an earlier offer from Colorado. I think McGwire loves the Cardinals, their tradition, fans etc.
So, he doesn't have coaching experience. He will need on the job training. My guess is he will do just fine. Sounds like he can communicate with hitters. Communication is 75 percent of the battle in life. McGuire definitely experienced highs and lows in his career. That should make him a better teacher.
And this may help the Cardinals in the Matt Holliday sweepstakes. He and McGwire have worked together in the offseason. Maybe that is why the Rockies tried to hire Big Mac when Holliday played in Colorado.
What do you think the pros and cons of Big Mac's hiring are?
According to media reports, the Cardinals' Albert Pujols is scheduled today (Wednesday) for elbow surgery to remove bone chips.
This condition probably explains why Albert's bat went fairly silent late in the season and in the NLDS.
If Dr. James Andrews doesn't find more when he goes into Albert's elbow, No. 5 should be ready for spring training 2010
Albert's elbow might also explain why he seemed withdrawn to players and media following the season. From personal experience, health challenges can do that to a person.
But Albert remains the best player in baseball and getting his health under control will not only help the Cardinals but all of baseball too.
Major League Baseball needs players like Albert Pujols.
Memo to Cardinal fans. Take a deep breath. It's going to be okay.
Albert Pujols apparently stirred some controversy this week when he said that he wasn't concerned about a contract extension with St. Louis. There are also questions about his troubled elbow.
St. Louis media are also upset that Albert wouldn't talk to them following the division playoffs.
For what it's worth, here's my take on Pujols' situation.
He has one full year left on his contact and an elbow condition that may be more serious that people realize. His health is more important to him now than his contract.
Albert had a rough postseason. The Dodgers wouldn't pitch to him. When they did pitch to him, maybe he tried too hard. That's human nature. Albert is still human.
And maybe his frustration reached its peak once the Cardinal season ended. He wanted to escape the writers, teammates etc. and deal with the frustration
I think people should allow the guy some slack and rest.
The Cardinals have a number of free agent concerns this off season and most people center their discussion on Matt Holliday.
I agree that Holliday's signing would become a valuable addition to the free agent mix, but I believe Mark DeRosa has more value to the Cardinals.
So I say, sign the guy first, then worry about Holliday and others.
DeRosa can play various positions including third base and left field. He provides protection for the Cardinals in left if Holliday doesn't sign. They also have prospects at third including David Freeze
DeRosa is a good player and a gamer. I still cannot believe the Braves and Cubs both traded the guy. He used to kill the Cardinals when he was in the opposition uniform.
DeRosa requires wrist surgery. That's fine, let him have the surgery and take a chance he can return in good health. The Cardinals took a similar risk with a pitcher named Chris Carpenter and that result worked well.
Heading into the 2009 season, the Cardinals' double play combination was unsettled.
Skip Schumaker basically turned in his outfield glove and learned second base in spring training.
Brandan Ryan won the shortshop job during the season. According to reports, Cardinal Manager Tony LaRussa wasn't sold on Ryan's ability or makeup. LaRussa changed his mind.
Schumaker was steady at second this season. He also batted .309 and did a good job in the leadoff slot. It's hard not to appreciate Skip. He goes to work each day like his job in on the line. He plays baseball old school.
Ryan has good range and a strong arm. He batted .292 and brought some youthful enthusiasm to the club.
Barring injury, the Cardinals are set for a while at two key positions. Both Skip and Ryan should contribute both offensively and defensively.
What do you think about the Cardinals' shortstop and second baseman?
Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa is the biggest free agent of the non playing roster heading into 2010.
LaRussa has been in St. Louis a long time. How long? Current Dodger Manager Joe Torre was the last full-time manager before Tony.
All indications point to a LaRussa return. But should the future Hall of Fame Manager come back to the Cardinals? Part of me says yes, part of me says the Cardinals need different and fresh direction. Has Tony brought the Cardinals as far as he can these days?
Yes, he led them to the 2004 and 2006 World Series winning it in 2006. So yes, he deserves to write his own ticket whether to stay or go.
What do you think Tony should do? Should she return to the Cardinals, look for another team or retire?