St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Pujols kisses his wife Deidre after the Cardinals defeated the Texas Rangers to win MLB's World Series baseball championship in St. Louis

Wife of Albert Pujols tells radio show: “the city of St. Louis has absolutely been deceived”

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“I understand you’re talking to us, then one TV station, and that’s about it,” is how Sandi Brown, morning show host at 99.1 Joy FM in St. Louis, opened her conversation Monday with Deidre Pujols, the wife of new Angels first baseman Albert Pujols.

“This is the moment of truth for us,” Deidre replied. “Four days have passed and most people are probably sick of hearing our name by now, but I’m ready to let people have our side of what has happened and be able to make better judgements.”

Before we delve into the topics discussed during the 39-minute interview, some background information is necessary. Joy FM is a Christian music radio station based in a western suburb of St. Louis that debuted this past July in place of “Classic 99,” a classical music offering that had been on the air for more than six decades. Joy FM recieved funding and pledges, during its inception, from the Pujols family and from former Cardinals pitcher Andy Benes.

Sandi Brown, the interviewer, is friends with Deidre Pujols, the interviewee. The chat opened with a prayer.

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Albert Pujols signed a 10-year, $254 million pact with the Angels at last week’s Winter Meetings in Dallas and was introduced as the club’s new first baseman at a kind of hybrid pep rally and press conference Saturday in Anaheim attended by over 4,000 fans. The deal also includes a 10-year personal services contract that will keep Pujols a member of the Angels organization in some capacity long after his playing days are through.

Pujols often claimed, near the end of his tenure in St. Louis, that he wanted to remain a “Cardinal for life,” in the ilk of the legendary Stan Musial. To hear his wife Deidre tell it during Monday’s interview, that claim was wholly accurate. Pujols did want to return to St. Louis this offseason. But then his mindset changed.

In a failed reading of the marketplace for the 31-year-old slugger, the Cardinals put forth a five-year, $130 million proposal earlier this winter. Some might call that part of doing business — every negotiation starts somewhere, and offers can be improved — but it struck the wrong chord in the Pujols household.

“When you have somebody say, ‘we want you to be a Cardinal for life,’ and then only offer you a five-year deal, it kind of confused us,” said Deidre, calling the offer an “insult.”

The Cardinals eventually improved their package, all the way up to 10 years and $210 million, but $30 million of that would have been deferred with no interest. In the Angels’ $254 million deal, nothing is deferred.

“I’m going to tell you what, listeners especially,” said Deidre, “had that offer been given to us with a guarantee (i.e. no deferred money), we would have a Cardinal on our bat.”

Deidre then hinted that the lack of a post-baseball commitment from the Cardinals also rubbed Albert the wrong way. He wasn’t offered a personal services contract like the one Angels owner Arte Moreno gave.

“Albert and I never, not one time ever, made plans to leave this city,” said Deidre. “We had no reason, not one reason, to want to leave. … People were deceived by the numbers.”

The rest of the interview centred largely around Mrs. Pujols’ faith and upbringing in Kansas City, and the both harsh and friendly comments she’s received from St. Louisans since the decision was announced on Thursday. But the main intention of the lengthy Monday morning discussion was to relay the message that Albert did not chase the Angels’ $254 million offer because of greed or money lust. Rather, it was about the Angels’ willingness to make a long-term commitment and the Cardinals’ reluctance to match that.

“It’s just like God,” Deidre told Brown near the end of the chat, “to put us on a team called the Angels.”

Joe Panik says he’s “100 percent” recovered from back injury

San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik follows through on a single off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg in the eighth inning of Game 1 of a baseball doubleheader Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Denver. The Giants won 10-8. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Giants second baseman Joe Panik missed nearly all of August and September last season due to a nagging back injury, but he told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com on Friday that he’s feeling “100 percent.”

Panik, who earned his first All-Star selection last season, originally landed on the disabled list in early August due to what was described as lower back inflammation. He made his return in September, but appeared in just three games before being shut down. The good news is that he was cleared by doctors in mid-December and considers himself “back to normal.”

“It was right around the time of all the signings,” he said, smiling. “I was able to fly under the radar. I got tested and everything had healed up. I got cleared and was able to have my full offseason workouts. I’m good to go. I’m happy to be feeling good and going back out on the field to show that I’m healthy. My swing feels strong.”

Panik altered his offseason workout routine and plans to spend less time in his spikes in the early part of spring training. The hope is that these changes will prevent future issues.

After a strong showing as a rookie in 2014, the 25-year-old Panik proved to be one of the best second baseman in the majors last season by batting .312/.378/.455 with eight home runs and 37 RBI over 100 games while playing solid defense.

Baseball America names Corey Seager as baseball’s top prospect

Los Angeles Dodgers' Corey Seager follows through a single that scored Austin Barnes, in front of Colorado Rockies' Wilin Rosario during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
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Baseball America unveiled their top 100 prospect list Friday night during a special on MLB Network. It should come as no surprise that Dodgers infielder Corey Seager came in at No. 1.

This makes Seager the consensus top prospect in the game. He was also ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN’s Keith Law. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked second on all four lists.

Baseball America has the most aggressive ranking of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox, who checked in at No. 3. He was followed by pitching prospects Lucas Giolito from the Nationals and Julio Urias from the Dodgers to round out the top five.

You can see Baseball America’s full top 100 list here.

Jenrry Mejia: “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”

New York Mets' Jenrry Mejia reacts after getting the last out against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 25, 2014, in Milwaukee. The Mets won 3-2. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps
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Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”

Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.

Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.

Bryce Harper on potential $400 million contract: “Don’t sell me short.”

Bryce Harper
AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.

When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.

During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.