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Would it Be Better for Baseball if Albert Pujols Left the Cardinals and Tested the Free Agent Market?

Last weekend, Albert Pujols made it official – he will not discuss a contract extension with the Cardinals once Spring Training begins. St. Louis has less than a month to negotiate an extension and retain one of the best hitters in baseball. Wouldn’t Pujols becoming a free agent be the best thing for baseball?

Pro: LeBron becoming a free agent was great for the NBA. It stirred great interest in the sport after the Finals and after the draft, and LeBron landing in Miami has been a boon for the league. Baseball isn’t basketball, where one player can transform a franchise … but interest and speculation in the Pujols hunt would be enormous.

Con: St. Louis, with one of the league’s most passionate fanbases, would be devastated.

Pro: Boston, New York and Philadelphia won’t be interested – all three are set at 1st Base for the next 5-10 years – so at least half-a-dozen teams (Cubs, Angels, Giants, everyone with a brain) would be in the hunt. But would they be willing to shell out more than A-Rod money?

The Giants, to me, would be one of the most intriguing landing spots. Second best rotation in baseball (Phillies) and two real nice young talents in Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval. Awesome, scenic, stadium. Cool city. Top 10 TV market. You could easily be looking at a dynasty-in-the-making. [Fox, Dispatch]

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