Nothing profound here, but with so much talk about how the Cardinals messed this up by not signing Pujols by his "deadline", I've been wanting to say a few words.
In my over simplification, there are two main reasons that a team would sign a player prior to him going to free agency:
1) Not signing the player would cause him to not consider his current team during free agency because he feels disrespected
2) There is a high probability that the free market price for the player will be more than what he is willing to settle for prior to free agency.
In the Albert Pujols case, I assume that the option number 1 is not an issue. All general relayed information though the (espn) media says that Pujols is a loyal person with a love for St. Louis. He just wants the most money he can get (which he should). My assumption is that if St. Louis gives him the most amount of money in free agency, then he will be happy to sign back with St. Louis. But hey, what do I actually know.
With this assumption, the question for the Cardinals comes down to: is the 10 year, 300 million dollar contract Pujols is asking for going to be below the free market price during free agency? I think the answer for that is absolutely not.
First off, 10 years, 300 million is only a possible number is Pujols produces this year as he did last year. Say he plays less than 100 games, and has a reduction in batting average and hrs. Can you imagine any team thinking that he is worth that type of investment when he is showing signs of decline or injury? The Cardinals allowing him go to free agency could pay off huge, because a poor year from Pujols this year will drastically decrease his market value.
Even if he performs at the triple crown level of last year, I don't think his market value will be 10 years, 300 million. 10 years, 300 million dollars is a moon shot number that is based upon the terrible contract that A-Rod received. The problem is that history has shown us, and will likely continue to show us, that A-Rod's contract is a mistake. Is there a team that is not going to realize this and is going to go down the same road when Pujols hits the market? The mass media keeps making the assumption that someone will sign him for that kind of money, but I completely disagree. Especially with the Red Sox and Yankees set with large 1B contracts already.
Anyway, good job Cardinals for holding your ground and not "Yankee-ing" this one.