I normally don't get too deep in to this stuff unless it is imminent and feasible, but these long off periods make me stir crazy at work and this one is just interesting enough to be worth a read. Check this article from Deadspin, which is actually a fairly well written and thought out article by Will Leitch (based on this article from Bernie Miklasz of the StL Post-Dispatch) on how the Cards are likely to lose LaRussa if the they don't turn it around this season, and that Pujols would follow at the end of his contract in 2011.
So if La Russa decides these new front office folks don't have The Right Stuff, that they're not as brutally committed to winning as he is, he will leave. (Until this contract, he always worked under a one-year deal, the Don Draper of managers.) I'm not sure where he'd go next — maybe he'd just co-manage the Tigers with Jim Leyland; awesome idea for a bromantic comedy! — but he would, without question, leave. Every game the Cardinals lose 3-0, every solo homer Pujols hits, every heralded Cardinals prospect that disappoints (the "Faberge Eggs," they're called), brings him a little closer.
And have no doubt: If La Russa leaves, Pujols probably isn't far behind, because the only reason La Russa would leave is the same reason Pujols would leave: This Franchise Does Not Have What It Takes To Win. The Cardinals simply cannot afford to pay what Pujols is worth on the open market, something Pujols is aware of; he's always said as long as the Cardinals remain "committed to winning," he'll stay.
If you want Albert Pujols to be your first baseman — and, of course, you are a fan of the Red Sox, Mets, Cubs (gasp!) or, if Mark Teixeira dies, the Yankees — you need to start rooting against the Cardinals, right now, this second. We'll know very soon.
As if we needed any more reason to root against them this season, with the division so tight.
Honestly, Hendry has shown a history of bringing ex Cards to the team, and some have done well (Edmonds) and others haven't (you know). I think Pujols is pretty much guaranteed to perform no matter where he is, and while i don't envision the Cards going truly small market on us, if there was one Cardinal i'd love to see here, it'd be a professional both on and off the field like him. The timing would line up right, as even with D Lee's resurgence of late (and yes, i was one of the few hating on the idea of benching / DFA'ing / sending him to AAA during his early season struggles, and i have the utmost respect for the man) you can't deny he is getting a bit long in the tooth.
I realize this is all very abstract 'pie in the sky' stuff, but hey... we don't have baseball for another 6 hours!
Have a great afternoon everyone.