Albert Pujols will not sign a new contract with the Cardinals this spring. Negotiations came to an end on Wednesday morning, more than an hour prior to the slugger’s self-imposed 11 a.m. CT Wednesday deadline. Thus, he will break off all contract talks until after the season ends.
A Major League source told MLB.com on condition of anonymity that negotiations had ceased. The club has not formally confirmed the news.
Pujols had reportedly sought a 10-year deal, with some outlets reporting that he wanted $300 million over that span. SI.com reported on Tuesday night that the Cardinals had offered an eight-year contract worth under $30 million per year but likely more than $25 million per year, while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the club was “weighing” a guaranteed eighth year as of Wednesday morning.
Pujols was expected to be in the Jupiter area on Wednesday, but according to a club official, he does not intend to report to camp until Thursday. The formal report day for Cardinals infielders and outfielders isn’t until Friday, with full-squad workouts beginning Saturday.
St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak and the team’s principal owner, Bill DeWitt Jr., plan to address reporters on Wednesday afternoon. It’s unclear when, or even whether, Pujols or his agent, Dan Lozano, intends to speak about the matter. An enormous media throng has descended upon the Cardinals complex to cover the developments.
Though no deal was reached, at least two more stages of this process remain. Even if Pujols refuses to entertain any discussion until the Cardinals’ season is over, the Cardinals would still have one more exclusive opening. Clubs maintain exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents until five days after the World Series ends.
After that, Pujols would go to free agency if he were still unsigned, at which time the club could still find itself the highest bidder. That was the situation last winter, when Matt Holliday re-upped after hitting the open market.
Pujols will receive $16 million in 2011, the final season of a deal that will end up paying him $111 million over eight years.