OK, the Cardinals' postseason is done, so we can refocus on the No. 1 Hot Stove League topic: Albert Pujols and whether or not he will stay in St. Louis.
A few days ago, the possibility of a one-year contract deal for The Machine crossed my mind.
That said, I don't think it's likely.
1. Albert's on the far side of 30. For him and Dan Lozano, the clock is ticking.
2. If "pressing" over a contract was part of the issue, why would he want that again?
3. If he is at all declining, if part of the increase in double-play balls and drop in walks was not a one-year aberration, he doesn't want that to show up again.
That said, he's 30 HRs away from tying Stan Musial's team record. If John Mozeliak made this a HUGE performance incentive, Pujols might do a one-year deal. But, so far, on long-term talks, Mo has said zip about such incentives, including for 500 and 600 HRs, 3,000 hits, etc.
So, not likely.
Odds on such a deal? 3-1 against, in my book.
And, Jon Paul Morosi says that the Cards' win may boost the likelihood the team keeps him, on a more realistic deal. His Fox baseball colleague Ken Rosenthal, writing with the hindsight of Pujols' 3-HR World Series night, partially agrees. He says Pujols either forced Mozeliak to open the Cardinal checkbook wider or else he finished the process of pricing himself out of the St. Louis market.
On the other hand, if Jeff Passan is right, and Prince Albert is a Tony La Russa-babied prima donna, and Tim Brown is right that Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman have finally gotten a bit tired of coddling him, do you want him back? At least, do you want him back for more than one year, assuming that Tony the Pony retires after 2012 and passing John McGraw? For that matter, if you're getting big enough clubhouse fractures over this, among star-level players, do you want Tony the Pony back beyond a 2012 record-setting farewell tour?
On the other hand, in another column, Monrosi kind of dismisses the Passan/Brown criticisms. (And opens up the can of worms as to whether some writers favor some ballplayers, etc.)
And, Howard Bryant weighs in, wondering, given his apparent self-effacing attitude, just how much marketing candlepower he would have in a city bigger than St. Louis.