Albert Pujols will not make his return to St. Louis in 2016

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Given that the NL Central and AL West are matched up in non-rivalry intergleague games next season, it was anticipated that the Angels would visit St. Louis at some point and that Albert Pujols would make his return to Busch Stadium. It was so anticipated that the Cardinals were even going to plan a bunch of special things for the occasion.

Nope. Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports that a near-finalized 2016 schedule doesn’t have the Angels going to St. Louis. Rather, the Cards will host Texas, Oakland and Houston. Oh, and none of the nine Cubs-Cardinals game in St. Louis will take place on weekends. His full report is here.

Making the schedule is difficult. There are so many variables that I can’t even begin to understand how they’d be able to ensure that a specific player-driven thing be added to the algorithms and formulas and whatnot. Still, kind of a bummer that Pujols won’t get to visit the Cardinals.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.