Report: Pujols rejects Cardinals’ latest offer

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols slaps his hands as he flies out, scoring a run in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on September 3, 2010. Pujols went hitless as St. Louis breaks a five game losing streak with a 3-2. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Albert Pujols rejected a recent contract offer by the Cardinals and is ready to cease all talks about a new deal until after the World Series.

Pujols, trying to avoid distractions, has no intention of addressing the contract talks when he reports Wednesday to the Cardinals’ spring-training camp in Jupiter, Fla. Manager Tony La Russa told reporters Sunday he will also encourage his players to avoid the issue.

“This is a spectacular distraction potentially,” La Russa said. “We won’t allow it to be.”

Even if Pujols continues his silence about his future, it won’t squelch the firestorm that has already been created in St. Louis. Newspaper columnists are picking sides. The phrase “#Albertageddon” is gaining popularity on Twitter. And a Web site — — is counting down to when he arrives at spring training and terminates negotiations.

“I read that he’s looking for $30 million a year, and I just can’t see how that’s going to happen,” said Andy MacPhail, Baltimore Orioles president of baseball operations, during a Q&A at the Baltimore School of Law Sports Symposium.

He may get $30 million a year but it probably won’t come from the Cardinals. As I’ve wrote for the past couple of weeks, St. Louis’ payroll usually never tops $100 million so it seems unlikely that the club would give one player $275 million over the span of 10 years. (Even if that player is Albert Pujols.)

I don’t think the Cards ever intended to give Pujols a new deal by his spring training deadline. They need more time to figure out what they’re going to do and they’ll be given that time when the season begins. But in the end, they’re still going to have to make a decision. Either pay the best player in the game what he wants or watch him walk out the door.

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