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What they’re saying about Albert Pujols’ historic night

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Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols tallied a World Series record 14 total bases in Saturday night’s 16-7 Game 3 defeat of the Rangers. He went 5-for-6 with six RBI and four runs scored, homering three times to join the proverbial Mount Rushmore of postseason performers. Only Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson had homered three times in a World Series game before Albert joined them in accomplishing the feat.

Let’s take a trip around the web to see what others are saying about Pujols’ historical performance:

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com: “This isn’t a tale about how many zillions of dollars Albert Pujols is about to add to his 401(k) this winter. This isn’t a tale about whether Albert Pujols owes it to the American public to talk to media knuckleheads like us after a World Series game. No, this is just a tale about what really matters at times like this — the tale of how the greatest hitter in our solar system took an electrifying journey into the history books on a crazy Saturday evening in October.”

MLB.com’s Matthew Leach: “It would not have been unreasonable to think Albert Pujols had nothing left to accomplish in baseball. It just would have been wrong. Add one more line to the résumé of the greatest hitter of his generation: Pujols turned in the greatest individual hitting performance in World Series history on Saturday night.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington: “Between him and [Miguel] Cabrera, you need to outlaw them. They’re just that good.The guy just got locked in after his first at-bat tonight. I thought we had put him away. Next thing you know, the ball is up in the third deck.”

Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa: “There were a couple times in the dugout during the middle of the game we said let’s have a game like we’ll never forget. That’s kind of what he did.’’

Gil LeBreton, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Pujols batted in four consecutive innings, fourth through seventh. He hit a single, a single, a home run and then another homer. And for anyone who wasn’t yet stupefied, Pujols launched another fly ball into the left-field seats in the top of the ninth.”

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “When the scoreboard stopped flashing, when the smoke cleared, when the Texas Rangers’ pitchers wobbled into the clubhouse to receive stitches, Albert Pujols finally dropped his bat. … Pujols went deep into his own heart, and then deep into the heart of Texas.”

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports: “North Texas has its way of lookin’ at things, and then of puttin’ ‘em. And right about the time the Texas Rangers were gettin’ plum pole-axed Saturday night on Nolan Ryan Expressway, as they were witnessing and participating in one of the great offensive performances – if not the greatest – in World Series history, they’d bought themselves another folksy idiom: Son, you don’t get into a hittin’ contest with Albert Pujols.”

SI.com’s Tom Verducci: “Lincoln at Gettysburg. Hendrix at Woodstock. Pujols at Arlington. The performance of a lifetime.”

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “You know you’re getting old(er) when you see something like tonite and reckon you’ll never see it again.”

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.