You have to feel for poor Albert Pujols.

He says he wants to be a member of the St. Louis Cardinals for his entire career.

And Albert has been offered a rich contract by the Cardinals, too. Various reports have thrown out a few different figures that Pujols may be seeking – including eight years for $200 million, 10 years for $275 million and 10 years for $300 million.

There’s no definitive account pinpointing how much the Cardinals are offering but there are reports that it is between $19 to $23 million a season with contract length being either eight or 10 years.

Even if you’re math-challenged, you can see we are talking a package in the vicinity of $200 million for a player who is 31 years ago.

And Albert says he wants to be a Cardinal forever, right?

Well Albert, do you know how to sign your name?

Seems pretty simple to me.

Unless Pujols is greedier than I have previous thought, I don’t understand his stance that he will no longer negotiate with the Cardinals during the season.

We’ve all seen what happens when a player is still a free agent when October gets here. At that point, the player is an idiot if he doesn’t test the free-agent market. Then all it takes is one knucklehead – there is still a Steinbrenner running the Yankees – offering ridiculous coin and all that loyalty to a city is forgotten immediately.

Pujols is a St. Louis legend and has a chance to be remembered among the greatest Cardinals ever in the best baseball town in the nation. He’ll be up there with Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and the Dizzy Dean-era Gashouse Gang in Cardinals’ lore forever.

So if Albert really wants to be a Cardinal for his entire career, there’s no reason to halt negotiations. In fact, what is he paying agent Dan Lozano for if the guy isn’t going to be exchanging contact terms with Cardinals’ management for the next eight months?

Pujols is a three-time MVP and the only player in the history of the game to start his career with 10 consecutive 30-homer seasons. He deserves a big salary and he’s surely going to receive one.

But it’s starting to look like he’ll be playing for the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Angels in 2012. The Cubs signed first baseman Carlos Pena as a free agent, conspicuously for just one season. The Angels play in the league that uses a designated hitter so Pujols and slugging first baseman Kendry Morales can surely co-exist.

I suppose the designated hitter option means the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are options despite Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez being highly paid first basemen (yes, I am assuming the Red Sox will be signing Gonzalez to a deal soon). Apparently, the Texas Rangers somehow have the cash to make a run at Pujols – kind of odd since the franchise was mired in bankruptcy proceedings this past summer.

What it comes down to in this situation is that one person controls all this stuff. A guy named Albert Pujols.

He says his goal is to remain with the Cardinals. So why make this so complicated and drag his teammates through a distraction-filled season?

Grab the pen Albert, find the bottom line and sign your name.

Pretty easy.

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