After reading some articles on this, I'm thinking there's a lot of negotiation tactics at play here. On both sides.
Check this article: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball ... 2bc8b.html
And while the kitchen was buzzing, there was time for the men to spend with Albert Pujols as they shot pool and delicately broached the subject every Cardinal fans wonders about.
It was Bret Jerger who told him, "I know you don't want to talk about your contract, but we just want you to know that as Cardinal fans, we sure hope you'll stay in St. Louis."
The comment unlocked something, and Pujols proceeded to tell the men "off the record" thoughts about the process of his negotiation.
"At one point, he said, 'I'm telling you guys more about this than I've said to anyone,' " Bob Brady said. "And you find yourself thinking, 'We're here with Albert Pujols, and he's talking about his contract.' "
Let's all be honest here, Albert has been a bargain at this point. He's making 16 million dollars this year. In "real world" numbers, that's a huge amount. In baseball, when you look at the names that are being paid more than he is? Albert wants to be paid like the best player in the game, because he is. That's not an outlandish request. Don't we all do that at our own place of business?
Holliday was on "Mike and Mike" today, apparently, and said he'd 'help' by deferring money from his deal if it helped sign Pujols.http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball ... 2bc8b.html
Holliday appeared on "Mike and Mike", ESPN's signature morning show that is broadcast locally in St. Louis on 101.1 FM ESPN/WXOS. He was asked by the host, his friend Doug Gottlieb, if he would defer additional money from his contract to fit Pujols into the Cardinals' payroll. The question provided the answer as much as Holliday did.
"I would be willing if they came to me and said, 'Hey this is what it's going to take to get Albert done. Would you do it again or would you do more?'" Holliday said on the show. "Scott wouldn't like me to say that. But if that's what it took, I would be willing to do that."
Scott is his agent Scott Boras.
There's a lot of moving pieces here. Pujols doesn't want the negotiation to distract the team once they are in camp. But I'd argue that if he doesn't sign, it's going to be a shatstorm all season with the media hanging around the team. Every nationally televised game will have at least one or two mentions about this being 'possibly the last year' for Pujols with the Cardinals. The fans will be in a panic. There will be mix of anger (possibly boos), desperation (how many 'Please Stay Albert' signs will we see this year?), and chaos as the season winds down if Pujols isn't signed.
At the same time, Dewitt and Mozeliak knew this was coming. The countdown is down to 5 days before Albert shows up in camp. With any luck, he'll have signed by then.