The Albert Pujols contract extension countdown has officially struck Albertageddon: Pujols, 31, will not sign a pre-season contract extension with the Cardinals and has insisted he will not discuss his contract situation until after the season when he will become a free agent. It appears Pujols wants to test those waters.
It was a domino effect from there. Cardinals fans immediately took to imbibing away their Wednesdays and/or breathing into paper bags while fearing the worst; fearing their organization's Lebron James will take his eight-plus WAR (that's SABR-talk for "talents") to somewhere a bit more lucrative, leaving a hole in the middle of the Cards' lineup bigger than any hole Harry Stamper could drill.
Meanwhile, Tigers fans can scoff at the potential misfortune of the Cardinals and their fans (especially after freaking 2006), knowing full well that their own silver slugger is locked up through 2015.
For as ugly as some of the checks Dave Dombrowski's inked during his time general managing the Tigers, he really doesn't get enough credit for the Cabrera trade and subsequent extension. By signing the then 25-year-old Cabrera to an eight-year deal worth over $150 million, Dombrowski ensured the Tigers would benefit from Cabrera's bat all the way through his prime and at a relatively reasonable price considering the years the Tigers will have had him.
Compare that to players like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Carl Crawford (and soon Albert Pujols) who all (will) have signed multi-year deals in their late twenties or early thirties that cost more than Cabrera. When Cabrera's deal expires, he'll be closing out his age-33 season. A-Rod signed his extension with the Yankees when he was entering the twilight of his prime at the age of 32 and that contract will take him into his forties! I can't see him living up to it and I don't think Pujols will either after the market dictates he receive A-Rod-like money. After all, A-Rod is the precedent in 32-year-olds signing absurd eight-year deals, which Pujols will likely seek in free agency.
Cabrera will see another extension, no doubt, but it shouldn't take a stupid, crooked number [of years] to get his Herbie Hancock. If it does, then the Tigers should feel comfortable knowing they maximized Cabrera's productivity through his prime in the current contract and then smartly decide not to touch him with a 10-foot Hit N' Stik. I'm not so sure the Cards can have that same confidence with Pujols, who will be two years younger when he enters free agency, which might be why Ken Rosenthal is suggesting the Cards try to trade him (and, no, there's no shot a Pujols-for-Cabrera trade would/could/should happen, Ken).
So, yeah, for now, let's just bask in the fact that our team's 30-plus HR, 100-plus RBI, .300-plus BA guy will be around for another five years while Cards fans squirm at the thought of losing theirs. It feels good. It feels real good.