Posted February 21, 2012 on AP on Fox
89213861
Albert Pujols' departure from the St. Louis Cardinals after 11 seasons drove home a point to his closest friend on the team. At the end of the day, it's a hard, cold business. Four-time Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina enters spring training this year a lifetime Cardinal seeking a long-term extension, just like Pujols a year ago. Molina is heading into the final year of his contract and he would like to stay in St. Louis. But he emphasizes it's a two-way street. And it can't help matters that Pujols is now two time zones away. ''When you spend time for how many years, eight years, I feel Albert is like my big brother,'' Molina said. ''When you see a guy going like he did last year, going to another team, yeah, it affected me.'' Molina said Pujols is happy in Anaheim with the Angels, adding: ''He likes it. He has to like it.'' That's not to say Molina is unhappy in St. Louis, and that just because Pujols is gone he's got one foot out the door, too. Much was made of his absence from the team's annual Winter Warmup fan festival and his no-show at the White House with the rest of the world champions, that both were signals of his displeasure. Molina said he simply had other commitments. ''I'm sorry I didn't make it,'' he said, ''but I had to stay home.'' The 29-year-old Molina, the youngest and most talented of three brothers to catch on in the major leagues, is coming off perhaps his best season. In addition to sterling defense that's most evident with those quick throws that convince base stealers to take the day off, he set career offensive highs with a .300 average, 14 homers and 65 RBIs, then added nine RBIs in the World Series. As much as he'd love to stick around, as much as he respects the management team of chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak, Molina does not intend to give the Cardinals a hometown discount to get the deal sealed. Eyes wide open from the failed Pujols talks, he points out that the money has to be right on the other side of the table, too. ''I will say this: I like the town, I like the city, but at the same time I have to think about my family,'' Molina said. ''Like they would about their team. Like I said, this is business. If I get good money, I'll take it. If I don't, I'll go away.'' Mozeliak said the Cardinals will do what they can to make a deal. ''I think it's more open-ended at this point,'' the GM said. ''Our desire would be to find a way to sign him.'' Ideally, Molina would like to have a deal done before opening day so he can devote his full attention to the game and help the Cardinals defend their World Series title. He appears trimmer than last season, although he says nothing has changed, and enthusiastically told new manager Mike Matheny he wanted to play all 162 games, though he said that has nothing to do with any sort of salary drive. ''I always come in good shape, this is not a different year,'' Molina said. ''I can't wait to get out there and catch.'' There's no doubt in Matheny's mind that Molina has come to camp motivated. ''Obviously he had a front row seat to watch how things went and that's going to probably weigh on him a little bit, I imagine,'' Matheny said. ''The one thing I know is that he's motivated to get better, and I can't believe the contract thing weighs on him that much. ''It's on his mind but I know he has always tried to be the best catcher there is in the game, and when you go about it that way, the other stuff works itself out.'' Molina said talks have stalled the last two weeks. Unlike Pujols, who cut off negotiations on the first day of spring training last February with the clear intention to test free agency, Molina plans no such ultimatum. Whenever the Cardinals are ready to resume negotiations, Molina is ready, too. ''Yeah,'' he said. ''I'm open to talk.''
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Pujols joins Angels at spring training

Albert Pujols has arrived to begin his first spring training with the Los Angeles Angels. Just as the sun was illuminating the Angels' facility, Pujols pulled his black Mercedes into the players' lot. Clutching a bag with some of his belongings, the three-time NL MVP headed to the clubhouse to meet his new teammates. The slugger's first stop was the equipment room, where...

Albert Pujols Irked by 'El Hombre' Billboards Angels Are Using to Market New Star

The new marriage between Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels is one that should produce positive results for both parties for years to come. However, it appears that they have already hit a minor bump in the road. ESPN.com reports that Pujols is a little irked by billboards that have been posted in Southern California that refer to the slugger as "El Hombre" or "...

Angels prepare for Pujols

C.J. Wilson has arrived at training camp. Albert Pujols is on deck. The $240 million slugger, who helped St. Louis win a World Series title last season before signing with Los Angeles Angels in December, is expected to arrive on Monday to begin the next chapter in his Hall of Fame-calling career. A new team, new teammates, new city, new manager, everything will be foreign to Pujols...

A first look at Albert Pujols in an Angels uniform

 

Pujols starts anew with Angels

TEMPE, ARIZ. (AP) - Decked out in Angels' gear from head to toe, Albert Pujols looked like the same slugger whose swing in St. Louis became as symbolic as the Gateway Arch.With a halo-topped "A" logo on his cap, Pujols, his massive chest and arms filling out every corner of ...

Albert Pujols at first Angels camp: "Here I am."

Decked out in Los Angeles Angels gear from head to toe, Albert Pujols looked like the same slugger whose swing in St. Louis became as symbolic as the Gateway Arch.

Pujols looking to join forces with Morales

Arriving in his new environment on Monday morning, Albert Pujols quickly made contact with Kendrys Morales, a guy who could make life easier, happier and, yes, even louder in King Albert's debut season with the Angels.

Halo Headlines: Pujols arrives in camp, Trumbo already working at third base, Walden adding a third pitch

The February 21st, 2012 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels ...

Pujols in Angels camp

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Albert Pujols has arrived to begin his first spring training with the Los Angeles Angels.

New morning: Albert Pujols joins Angels in camp

TEMPE, ARIZ. (AP) - Albert Pujols has arrived to begin his first spring training with the Los Angeles Angels.Just as the sun was illuminating the Angels' facility, Pujols pulled his black Mercedes into the players' lot. Clutching a bag with some of his belongings, the three-time NL MVP headed to ...

Cards, Molina put a hold on extension talks

The Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina have put discussions about a contract extension on hold after the two sides were unable to reach an agreement during a recent two-week period of talks.

Molina: No hometown discount

Hot News for C Yadier Molina

Yadier Molina’s Potential Payday and Catcher Aging

It has been a tumultuous off-season for the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, as they lost their face of the franchise first baseman, their iconic manager, and a couple of key front office members. However, life goes on, and it is time for the Cards to focus on the players they do have on their roster. One of those players is catcher Yadier Molina, who, after having his...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.