Cubs: What if the team had signed Albert Pujols back in 2011?

(Photo by Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images) /
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Albert Pujols / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

This wasn’t the end Albert Pujols or baseball envisioned for the superstar. Unarguably one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game, Pujols was designated for assignment last week by the Angels and has cleared waivers – making him a free agent.

Now, once upon a time, there was speculation Pujols would leave St. Louis following the 2011 season and actually join the Chicago Cubs – the Cardinals’ long-standing rival in the NL Central. For a myriad of reasons, the idea intrigued baseball writers and fans across the country.

At one point, there were reports out of St. Louis that the Cubs actually threw their hat in the ring with an offer. But to wrap our minds around that scenario now, a decade later, let’s hop in the DeLorean and gain some much-needed context

Pujols’ streak of eight consecutive All-Star appearances was snapped in 2011, when he wound only hitting 37 home runs and driving in 99 runs with a .299/.366/.541 line across 147 contests. Of course, in 2008 and 2009, the Cardinals slugger won back-to-back NL MVPs – cementing himself as one of the most feared sluggers in the game.

But as the contract stalemate between his camp and the organization drew out, it seemed almost inevitable he’d be on his way out of St. Louis, despite all he and the team had accomplished during his 11 years there. To go to Chicago, though, was – for obvious reasons – unthinkable for Cardinals fans.