Cards should do their best to keep Pujols happy

BY Ken Rosenthal • July 10, 2009

The Cardinals are on the clock.

Not just until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but until they sign first baseman Albert Pujols to his next contract.

The two are not necessarily unrelated.

As the Cardinals prepare to meet the Cubs this weekend (MLB on FOX, Saturday, 4:10 p.m. ET), friends of Pujols say that he is disturbed by the team's direction, skeptical of ownership's commitment to winning.

Pujols himself hinted at his concern last month when he told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "If we take care of business here in the clubhouse and the field, I don't think the owners and general manager are blind. They need to see what we see. I don't think they're blind."

The Cardinals, leading the NL Central, since have made a significant trade, adding approximately $3 million in payroll by acquiring infielder Mark DeRosa from the Indians.

Few clubs are willing to take on that much salary in a trying economy. To win the fierce competition for DeRosa, the Cardinals traded reliever Chris Perez and a player to be named.

Yet, the team still might need to do more, particularly now that DeRosa is out with a wrist injury.

Not to impress me. Not to impress you. To impress Pujols, the best player on the planet and featured attraction of next week's All-Star festivities in St. Louis.

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