Pujols releases statement on failed negotiations

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Unless you were down in a mine all day (do mines get broadband?), you probably heard that the Cardinals failed to reach a contract extension with Albert Pujols before the slugger’s self-imposed Wednesday deadline.

Different numbers have been popping up everywhere since talks were called off at noon, detailing in different tones how far apart the two sides might have been. Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Cardinals offered a salary of greater than $200 million over a nine- or ten-year frame. ESPN’s Buster Olney says the Cardinals low-balled Pujols with something worth $19-$21 million annually and wouldn’t go as long as ten seasons.

We may never get to the bottom of the Cardinals’ actual offer.

Whatever it was — as low as Olney is reporting or a bit rosier like Strauss says — it hasn’t completely offended Pujols. He released a statement to the press late this evening, explaining that he hopes “to revisit those talks” with John Mozeliak and Co. after the season and that he has the “utmost respect” for all members of the Cardinals’ front office and ownership group. To Cardinals fans, Albert said this:

I also would like to take this opportunity to reassure the Cardinal Nation, that my effort both on and off the field will never change. I am devoted to giving 100 percent on the field, every single day, just as I have done the last 10 years. We’re all working together toward a common goal and that is to win a World Championship for the City of St. Louis. The last thing anyone in this clubhouse needs to worry about, is what’s going to happen to me after the season. Let’s focus on winning in 2011 and prepare each day to accomplish our goals as a team. I’m feeling strong, healthy and excited to be at Spring Training in what I hope to be the start of a World Championship season. I can’t wait to get started and God bless.

Yes, this is a tactic. Pujols doesn’t want to be bogged down with questions about the negotiations or his impending free agency this season, and especially not during spring training. He’s undoubtedly hoping that this press release will provide the media with enough of a quote sheet on the matter and that they’ll focus on other stories in Cardinals camp over the next month-plus.

It’s a tactic, but the words in the statement should be comforting to St. Louis fans. Or at least prevent them from completely blaming Albert for the failed talks when he first takes the plate at Busch Stadium this year.

Pujols wants to focus on winning now and will accept competitive bids from the DeWitts next winter. That’s all that “Cardinal Nation” can ask for at the moment from baseball’s best hitter.

Dodgers, Brewers announce lineups for NLCS Game 3

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Here are the lineups for NLCS Game 3 between the Brewers and Dodgers. The game is slated for a 7:39 PM ET start at Dodger Stadium and will be broadcast on FS1.

Brewers

CF Lorenzo Cain
RF Christian Yelich
LF Ryan Braun
2B Travis Shaw
1B Jesús Aguilar
3B Mike Moustakas
C Erik Kratz
SS Orlando Arcia
P Jhoulys Chacín

The Brewers are going with Shaw at second base again. Hernán Pérez got the start there in Game 1 and was a defensive substitution in Game 2. Manager Craig Counsell will continue to play the matchups here as Shaw has a significant platoon split. During the regular season, Shaw posted an .892 OPS against right-handers but only .599 against lefties. Pérez was .783 against lefties and .612 against righties.

Dodgers

LF Joc Pederson
1B Max Muncy
3B Justin Turner
SS Manny Machado
CF Cody Bellinger
RF Yasiel Puig
C Yasmani Grandal
2B Enrique Hernández
P Walker Buehler

Chris Taylor gets a night off. Pederson gets the start with a right-hander on the mound after the Brewers started two lefties in the first two games. For the same reason, Muncy gets the start at first base, sending David Freese back to the bench, and Matt Kemp goes back to the bench in favor of Cody Bellinger.