"Do you want to bring all that into the clubhouse all year, like you guys have been doing the last couple of years?" Pujols said. "No. I respect my teammates more than this contract.
Pujols has repeatedly stated that he wants to be in St. Louis for the rest of his career, so if anything, this deadline will the allow the Cardinals to approach the negotiations with a timeline in mind. This really shouldn't be that hard, the interest is mutual, and it is what is best for both sides. Get a deal done already.
Based on how the offseason went with agents really controlling the negotiations, it doesn't surprise me that his agent has a handle on how the talks are being reported. The Cardinals media relations director told reporters that Pujols' agent even set guidelines for the news conference (it's likely a common practice, but a contract negotiation like this should be more relaxed).
So Cardinals fans are left in limbo, their franchise hanging in the balance if Pujols is left without a contract come mid-February.