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Pujols deadline passes with no deal
Question of the Day
JUPITER, FLA. (AP) - The St. Louis Cardinals made Albert Pujols what they said was their best offer.
It wasn’t enough.
So get ready, baseball: Pujols seems headed for the open market next fall.
The deadline Pujols set for the Cardinals to reach a new contract agreement passed Wednesday with no deal, making it likely the three-time MVP will become a free agent after the World Series. The Cardinals said they will respect Pujols’ wishes and not request more talks during the season, unless their first baseman surprisingly changes his mind.
“A difference of opinion in determining Albert’s value simply could not be resolved,” said Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano.
The Cardinals would not reveal their offer, though it was believed to be somewhere around $200 million for eight years, possibly with an opportunity for Pujols to obtain an ownership stake in the franchise once his playing days are complete.
When _ and if _ talks resume, it’s unclear if St. Louis will increase its offer to Pujols’ liking.
“We explored a number of different things in the negotiation,” Cardinals chairman William DeWitt Jr. said at a news conference. “Without getting specific in what those were, there was discussion about other things that could be part of the contract. … You can be sure that we explored a number of different avenues.”
Pujols will make $16 million this season in his contract’s final year, with $4 million of the money deferred with no interest. A nine-time All-Star, Pujols is the only player in major league history to hit 30 or more home runs each of his first 10 seasons _ all with the Cardinals, the franchise he’s previously said he wants to remain with for the rest of his career.
Now, that hardly seems like a lock.
“I don’t think there’s a better guy for us to have on the team,” Cardinals teammate Skip Schumaker said. “He’s the face of the franchise. You respect both sides of it. You respect what the Cardinals are doing, you respect the management and what Albert’s agent is doing. It’s a tough situation, as everybody knows. He’s an iconic player.”
Pujols is expected to be in Cardinals‘ camp on Thursday, two days ahead of when position players were asked to report. Lozano said Pujols does not want to discuss his contract status either now or during the season.
Nor, for that matter, does St. Louis manager Tony La Russa.
“We don’t want to get our minds cluttered as a team,” La Russa said. “There’s enough to do. … The competition in the Central and the National League has got our complete attention. And that’s just what we’re going to think about. You can choose what you think about. That’s what we’re going to think about.”
Already, there’s buzz around baseball on where Pujols could go. A big-spending club like the Red Sox, Yankees or Angels? Perhaps the rival Cubs? The Texas Rangers?
By Steve King
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