WGN Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling predicts the temperature will drop to -10 degrees in Chicago tonight, which means this will be the coldest night here since January 2009. That also means it’s time to think warm thoughts, so let’s talk baseball …

Let’s start in St. Louis, where the Cardinals are trying to sign Albert Pujols to a long-term contract before the superstar player’s self-imposed Feb. 16 deadline. I’m not sure if the Cardinals will convince Pujols not to test the waters of free agency, but today SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported that the two sides “are so far apart there is virtually no chance for a deal” by the Feb. 16 deadline — so right now I’m in the camp that thinks a deal WILL get done. But I hope I’m wrong and Pujols becomes a free agent after the 2011 season, then signs with the Chicago Cubs.

Let’s transition from baseball’s best hitter to one of baseball’s worst starting pitchers. Last season Ross Ohlendorf went 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA for the pitiful Pittsburgh Pirates (whose record was a major league-worst 57-105 in 2010) — so naturally he won his arbitration case, netting a pay raise from $439,000 to $2,025,000. For winning one game in 21 starts last season, Ohlendorf will get more than four times his 2010 salary this year! I suppose if he wins more than four games this year, the Pirates can consider him a bargain.

If the average American worker earned pay raises based on similarly mediocre performances, our country’s economy would be tanking worse than it has the past few years. But we can’t end on that sour note …

Less than a week left before pitchers and catchers start reporting to spring training! (If that doesn’t give you a warm feeling, you’re not a baseball fan.)

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