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Albert Pujols' Departure From Cardinals Would Have Plenty Of Recent Precedent

Albert Pujols' contract expires after the 2011 season, and he's told the Cardinals that he will not discuss contract negotiations during Spring Training or the regular season. This gives the Cards precious few weeks to ensure that the best hitter of his generation remains in St. Louis.

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Without an agreement in place, the rest of baseball is speculating whether Pujols could head elsewhere. Pujols-to-Marlins has even been discussed, and though I'd chalk that up to a baseball-starved reader submitting a question to a mailbag more than anything else, it's at least fun to think a bizarro-reality such as that one.

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If Pujols remains with the Cardinals, though, he'll be in the minority. Of all 14 active players 31 or older to maintain a career OPS within 150 points of Pujols', only three -- Todd Helton, Chipper Jones, and Travis Hafner -- have spent their entire careers in one place. A good chunk of the league is hurting in the first base department. We'll see how much of that chunk, come Fall, has enough money to throw at him.