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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Fan optimism slipping about Pujols’ Cardinals future

Over the past months, the contract situation of Albert Pujols, superstar first baseman of the St. Louis Cardinals, was front and center in baseball news. That is, it was dominating headlines until the player’s self-imposed February 16 negotiating deadline came and passed.

During that time, a series of related polls ran here at The Cardinal Nation Blog. Let’s take a look at what the readers had to say with their votes.

Not surprisingly, the fan view of when Pujols’ new contact will be signed slipped to the right over time. I first asked the question as 2010 ended, on New Year’s Eve, and again on Valentine’s Day.

Initially, the majority of the voters expected the club and player to come to terms before spring negotiations ended.

By February 14, the immediate optimism had waned. This polling date was still two days prior to Pujols’ deadline, but also before the free agent-to-be scored points with some by patiently answering media questions upon his arrival in camp and re-iterating his hope to remain with St. Louis.

Where/when will Pujols sign? 12/31/10 2/14/11 Change
With St. Louis prior to season 57% 18%
With St. Louis during season 3% 1%
With St. Louis after season 16% 41%
Total with St. Louis 76% 60% -16%
With another club 22% 34% 12%
No opinion/don’t know 2% 6% 4%

From the end of the year, reader confidence in Pujols returning to St. Louis in 2012 eroded from over 75 percent to just 60 percent. Three of every four changed votes shifted to an opposing club, while the fourth moved to “undecided.”

As of February 14, just over one-third of the voters believe Pujols is gone.

Another area of voting that attracted considerable interest was in setting the contract terms for what is viewed to be a winning upcoming fall offer by the Cardinals to Pujols.

Here are the results of the fan proposal with the leading percent of the vote for each element in parentheses:

  • Eight year guarantee (39%) with two additional option years to be vested (36%)
  • Average annual value of $26 million to $27 million (32%)
  • 10 or less percent of the total value deferred (35%)
  • Front-loaded (higher annual salary in early years) (56%)
  • Ownership stake upon retirement (49%)
  • Bonuses for games played and awards received (63%)

To create another point-in-time view of reader opinion, please share your opinion in the following three polls. New data points since last vote include the season-ending injury to Adam Wainwright and the trade speculation surrounding Chris Carpenter if the 2011 season collapses.

You can decide how much, if any, those two conditions matter before sharing your current prediction of what will happen with Pujols and when.

Does Adam Wainwright’s injury affect the Cardinals’ chance of re-signing Albert Pujols?

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Would a substandard 2011 season for the Cardinals and a Chris Carpenter mid-season trade affect ownership’s chance of re-signing Albert Pujols?

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Where/when will Albert Pujols sign his next contract?

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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