Granted: If the St. Louis Cardinals fail to agree with Albert Pujols on a contract, both Bill DeWitt and John Mozeliak will feel significant pressure to use some of those free agency megabucks on another "star" free agent. Granted: They have a big hole at shortstop, one they are expected to fill with non-star Rafael Furcal. But I still can't see a situation in which the Cardinals decide to replace Pujols with vaguely overrated "star" shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who is looking for a five-year contract as somebody's Jose Reyes consolation prize.
For one thing, Jimmy Rollins just has too much to lose in Philadelphia, where he could break Mike Schmidt's hits record, get considerably more overrated as he makes an unlikely chase toward 3000 hits with the same team, and generally pleases all those BBWAA Hall of Fame voters who still hate free agency.
But even then—what do John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt gain from all this, except a momentary burst of good news after the Pujols apocalypse? Rafael Furcal is perfectly solid patch at shortstop, and the Cardinals have Ryan Jackson in the minor leagues, who by 2013 will hopefully be as good as a 35-year-old Jimmy Rollins for free. If the Cardinals are going to overpay in free agency after Pujols leaves and Mozeliak finishes all the cartons of ice cream in the team fridge by himself, I bet it's at pitcher—we could finally see the culmination of five years of Mark Buehrle wants desperately to be a Cardinal stories!