Cardinals exercise $16 million option on Albert Pujols for 2011

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In the least surprising news since I said yes when offered a donut yesterday the Cardinals just officially exercised their 2011 option on Albert Pujols.
Instead of buying him out for $5 million (ha!) they’ll pay the best hitter in baseball $16 million while praying that he decides to remain in St. Louis for the long haul at some point before hitting the open market 13 months from now.
Because the Cardinals missed the playoffs Pujols is unlikely to garner a ton of MVP support from voters, but he hit .312/.414/.596 while leading the league with 42 homers, 118 RBIs, and 115 runs. He also ranked second to Joey Votto in OPS. In other words, he had another MVP-caliber season.

The Angels were the first team to use up all of their mound visits

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Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.

Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.

At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.