Now that the Super Bowl is over, the countdown can really begin. Spring Training is just days away, but that's not the countdown in question. The Cardinals have to lock Albert Pujols up by Spring Training or bid for him on the open market after the season and as ESPN.com's Buster Olney writes, contract talks are “not moving at all.”
Pujols appears to be pursuing a "Mt. Everest" contract whether it's in St. Louis or elsewhere. Other clubs - Olney names the Angels, Dodgers and Mets as examples - could re-brand themselves by signing Pujols, arguably the game's best player.
But it's too early to assume that Pujols is hitting the open market. Talks haven't been going well for a few days, but as we saw with negotiations between Derek Jeter and the Yankees, teams and players can make progress in a hurry.