In New York this week, the tabs have been having a field day with the Derek Jeter contract negotiations, culminating Wednesday with an image on the NY Post of ‘The Captain’ fully garbed out with Boston Red Sox paraphernalia.

Rumors persist that the Yankees are holding the line at a 3-year/ $45Million dollar offer for the 14 year Yankee and face of the franchise for the past decade plus. Jeee-Tah, while not busy spooning Minka Kelly, has begun to show signs that he’s getting irked.

Can’t blame him when A.J. Burnett is making 80 million dollars, right?

But seriously, it doesn’t seem like Yankee Nation is all that upset at the prospect of #2 moving on with his career in another city. They love Jeter, but understand that he’s past his prime. And even though you might get 2 more good years out of him, those last 2 that he reportedly wants are going to be a bigger crapshoot than going sans condom with Charlie Sheen.

Bottom line, though? Jeter WILL be a Yankee by the time spring training dawns in a couple of months. Feelings might be raw, conversations might be tense… but Jeter will be in pinstripes, like he should.

Meanwhile, Albert Pujols has returned from his annual sabbatical to the Dominican Republic and is now in the early stages of sharing preliminary numbers with the Cardinals for his next, and probably final, contract.

The most bandied about number seems to be 10-year/$300Million for the services of the best player in baseball. Quite a leap from the 3/45 that Jeter is requesting from the richest team in America that said team is balking at.

10 years. 300 million dollars. For a team that chose to use brick façade on their stadium because building with real brick was too expensive? Uh-oh.

Ok, ok. Here are three things that should make us feel better:

1 Albert loves being a Cardinal. He adores the tradition of the franchise.

2 He understands that he’s playing in the weakest division in baseball and by staying with the Cardinals, he has a good shot at making the playoffs at least as much as anyone besides the Yankees.

3 He has never really expressed any desire to leave the Cardinals at any point. He has seemed to be genuinely happy here for most part.

If you‘re not a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy, you’ll point to Albert’s quote that he’s not taking a hometown discount this contract. Or that he’s not really been proactive in negotiations to get a deal done before he hits free-agency. Or that the Cardinals aren’t the most cash-flush organization in MLB and deals like the one Ryan Howard got are pretty much pricing Albert out of the Midwest.

Either way- it’s a tough situation for the Cardinals and for St. Louis.

Unlike Jeter, Albert is still the main source of offense for a team that at least in 2010 was stagnant. He’s also more important to the city than Jeter ever could be.

Sacrilege to some Yankee fans. But I’ve been to New York. There is other stuff to do than watch baseball. I live in St. Louis. There is nothing to do in the summer but watch baseball.  If Pujols decides to test the free-agent waters, he’s done as a Cardinal and the draft pick compensation will be meaningless. Because in all-honesty, the guys that are selected with those compensatory picks aren’t going to be Albert Pujols and will never, ever get a fair shake in St. Louis.

Both negotiations are taking place right now. And while the intensity to the Jeter deal is front page news and leading SportsCenter, the Albert Pujols deal is infinitely more important to a franchise and a city.

Cardinal fans- only 11 more months and Albert is for anyone’s taking.

@athooks is on Twitter on Cards Diaspora and SB Nation STL

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