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Would Pujols really agree to a statue if he were leaving St. Louis?

Should Albert Pujols(notes) bolt town through free agency this hot stove season, at least St. Louis Cardinals fans will have an awkward memento to remember him by.

A 1o-foot, 1,100-pound statue of the two-time World Series winner was unveiled outside the Pujols 5 Westport Grill on Wednesday afternoon and Pujols was there for the ceremony. He whipped out his phone to take pictures of his likeness and then addressed the large crowd on hand without divulging or even addressing any of his future plans.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Would Pujols really agree to a statue if he were leaving St. Louis?Pujols spoke briefly but did not address the issue of his future, now that he is a free agent. He said he talked to Tony La Russa this morning, the first time they had spoken since La Russa announced his retirement as manager of the Cardinals. La Russa wanted to know whether Pujols was OK, Pujols said, and Pujols wanted to know whether La Russa was OK.

Pujols, as he has done before, spoke highly of Cardinals fans, calling St. Louis "the best city to play baseball."

Pujols' ability to officially negotiate with other teams starts on Thursday, but I find it hard to believe he's going to land elsewhere and this statue is part of the reason why. Yeah, it's only a hunk of bronze and it'll provide a nice home for pigeons regardless of Pujols' plans, but not even LeBron James would have had the temerity to watch a statue of himself erected in Cleveland before signing down in Miami. Surely Pujols wouldn't agree to this tribute if there were any chance of him leaving, right?

Then again, it'll really be interesting to see how St. Louisans treat that statue — as well as the restaurant behind it — if Pujols isn't playing for the Cardinals next season.

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