(The Spread) - It’s looking bleak – real bleak, that the St. Louis Cardinals and slugger Albert Pujols will come to an agreement on a new contract by spring training.

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SI.com’s Jon Heyman writes that the Cardinals and Pujols are “speaking two different languages” when it comes to negotiations about a new long-term deal. Pujols wants a contract in the range of 10-years and $275 million, while the club doesn’t want to go higher than an eight-year pact. The two sides appear miles apart.

That’s a problem considering that Pujols wants a new deal done by the time he reports to spring training on February 16. After that, he wants all discussion to cease and his camp has threatened that he’ll test the free agent market in 2012.

One of the sticking points between the two sides is that the Cardinals want Pujols to take a “hometown discount” but the slugger says that his previous contract was at a discount. Now he wants to be paid like Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez, which is understandable given the numbers Pujols has put up over his career. He’s arguably the best pure hitter in the game of baseball.

As the days pass, this becomes a frightful time for St. Louis fans.

According to oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com, the Cardinals are currently 16/1 to win the 2011 World Series and even money to win the NL Central division.

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