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2012 MLB Hot Stove: Chicago Cubs Contact Albert Pujols

Various sources are reporting the Chicago Cubs have contacted free agent slugger Albert Pujols. The Cubs were 20 games below .500 in 2011 and would have a tough time reaching the playoffs in 2012, but the expected lack of hitting talent over the next few years may be playing a part in their pursuit of Pujols -- which should only increase the relative value of slugger.

Unfortunately for St. Louis Cardinals fans who wanted to see Albert Pujols back in red and white, this new bidder may just be pushing the price up:

The mere perception Cubs are after Pujols/Fielder helps the Cubs, to potentially drive up the price for division rivals. See Rivera,Mariano. 4 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

The Cardinals have previously made overtures towards Pujols, but with the market steadily increasing in size, the Cards may need to renew their offer with some bigger numbers if they hope to sign the 31-year-old slugger.

Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Cardinals be sure to visit Viva El Birdos. Visit Baseball Nation for more news and notes around the league.