Cardinals have yet to make a contract offer to Albert Pujols

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols swings for a solo home run against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 13, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports writes that the Cardinals have not made an offer to Albert Pujols yet.

All indications suggest that Pujols and the team that drafted him a dozen years ago are not close to an agreement, and that eight days won’t be time enough to negotiate and consummate not only the richest contract in club history, but possibly the richest in the history of the game. As of the weekend, the Cardinals hadn’t made a concrete offer.

In calculations using metrics of player comparison, estimated production and age curves, valued Pujols as high as $275 million over 10 years (almost exactly A-Rod money), put his value at $267 million over 10 years, and – factoring in the normal increases in player salaries and league revenues – came in at $350 million over eight years., which determined Pujols – given his production – was underpaid by as much as $130 million over the life of his current contract, said Pujols’ next eight seasons would be worth as much as $240 million.

To me, there’s no debate over whether or not Pujols deserves the money. As the best player in baseball, he should be paid in the A-Rod range.

But it’s not hard to see where the Cardinals are coming from here. What if Pujols’ production declines sooner rather than later? What if they aren’t able to build a competitive roster around him? Their team payroll often doesn’t exceed $100 million and now they’re going to pay one player nearly $300 million? They’re in a tough spot.

That said, it’s nearing that time where St. Louis either has to sh*t or get off the pot. They’re hoping that Pujols (who wants to stay in St. Louis) will eventually accept a discount, but his camp seems unwilling to budge on their demands.

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Talks between Cards and Pujols not moving at all?

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols enters the dugout to high fives after hitting his 31st home run of the season, a solo home run, in the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on August 17, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, contract extension talks between the Cardinals and Albert Pujols are not moving at all.


Olney suspects that Pujols is seeking a “Mt. Everest” contract — something similar to the 10-year, $275 million pact that Alex Rodriguez is currently operating under with the Yankees. As baseball’s best hitter, Albert has no real reason to budge from that asking price because he could probably have it met as a free agent next winter. But the Cards are obviously having trouble justifying such a lofty commitment. The club’s payroll rarely tops $100 million in a given year. Pujols wants talks to cease once spring training opens.

There’s really nothing more to say about this situation that hasn’t already been said. Pujols has put the kabosh on the Cardinals trading him, so he’s left the team with only two options: either pony up and pay him or let him walk after the 2011 season. I get that they don’t want to raise their payroll, but what else are they going to do at this point?

I have the sinking suspicion that the Cardinals never intended to pay him what he wanted or, at the very least, hoped he would take a massive home town discount. I wonder if the plan all along was to lowball him to make the fans think they tried to re-sign him and he just wanted too much money, then trade him at the deadline. For St. Louis’ fans’ sake, I hope I’m wrong and they pony up before spring training. But the prospect of him staying in St. Louis beyond this season don’t look good right now.

Albert Pujols to command $300 million?

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols sits in the dugout watching the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on September 4, 2010. Cincinnati won the game 6-1. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The St. Louis Cardinals were hoping to retain Albert Pujols with a hometown discount. The only problem is that Pujols and his agent feel they’ve already given the club a discount and now want to cash in.

According to’s Jayson Stark, Pujols and agent Dan Lozano opened the negotiation process with the Cardinals by asking for $300 million over 10 years. The first baseman is coming off a seven-year, $100 million contract that was club-friendly given his production, so now Pujols is hoping the club will return the favor.

As Stark points out, there has never been a $300-million man in baseball history, which includes Alex Rodriguez (who signed a 10-year, $275 million contract in 2008). But given what Pujols has accomplished throughout his career and what he means to the Cardinals’ organization, what’s to say he shouldn’t become the first player to receive a $300 million deal? If there were only one player to make that much, shouldn’t it be Albert Pujols (the best pure hitter in the game)?

The Cardinals have built their team around Pujols, so losing him really isn’t an option. And if they’re not willing to pony up the $300 million, that doesn’t mean another team won’t.

Now obviously, we have no idea whether the Cubs’ new ownership is ready to start signing off on $300 million contracts. But the Cardinals can’t be sure of that. And even if the Cubs don’t drive the auction, does anybody honestly think Pujols won’t have a market, just because the other big spenders — the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Phillies — appear all set at first base for years to come?

Let’s just tick off a few teams: Rangers … Nationals … Orioles … Blue Jays. Maybe the Dodgers, or Angels, or even the Mets if they can get their finances straight.

“I wouldn’t even rule out the Red Sox and Yankees,” said one executive. “We’re talking about Albert Pujols. I could see them looking at first base, looking at DH and moving people around. I don’t think they could let that kind of talent go by.”

The clock is ticking. Pujols said he wanted a new deal done by the time players had to report to spring training, which is now less than 30 days away. They have to make a decision and it looks like Pujols’ side isn’t willing to comprise just to stay loyal to the organization. It’s time for the Cardinals to either put a giant-sized hole in their bank account or fill a giant-sized hole in their lineup.

Pujols in no hurry to sign an extension with the Cardinals

According to, Albert Pujols has no interest in signing a contract extension with the Cardinals this offseason.

“I’m not desperate to sign a contract extension. I still have one year remaining in my contract for 2010 and a club option for 2011. I leave the rest in God’s hands,” Pujols told a Dominican radio station (CDN 92.5 FM) Wednesday during an interview on the sports program “Manana Deportiva.”

Pujols signed a seven-year contract for $100 million after the 2003 season, but the two-time MVP said money will not be the central issue in his next contract.

“We have not sat down to talk about contracts yet. Last week, the GM [John Mozeliak] called me and I told them to talk to my lawyer. But I reiterate that money is not everything, it’s better to have a competitive team that can go to the postseason,” he added.

Pujols, 29, hit .327 with 47 home runs and 135 RBIs this season for the Cardinals, and is a heavy favorite to win the NL MVP.

St. Louis would obviously love to make Pujols a Cardinal for life, but it makes sense that he doesn’t want to rush the process when he doesn’t have to. He’s basically under contract for the next two years (the Cardinals will pick him his option in 2011) and therefore doesn’t have to think about his pending free agency for a while.

I don’t read this as Pujols hinting that he doesn’t want to be a Cardinal. I just think he wants to take things one year at a time, especially when he still has at least two more years left in St. Louis.

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