Sunday, February 13, 2011
Source: Albert Pujols rejects offer
ESPN.com news services
Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols received and rejected a contract proposal from St. Louis two weeks ago and there has been no progress in the talks since then, a source told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
Barring a last-minute deal, the 31-year-old Pujols will make an announcement Tuesday ceasing negotiations, according to USA Today, which was the first to report the Cardinals' offer had been rejected.
Pujols previously said that if a deal was not made by the time he reports for spring training on Wednesday, he will not negotiate again this season.
After he begins spring training, Pujols does not want his agent, Dan Lozano, to discuss a contract with the Cardinals because he doesn't want to have any distractions, a stance he has taken throughout his career.
Manager Tony La Russa addressed the issue Sunday at Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Fla.
"This is a spectacular distraction potentially," he was quoted as saying by USA Today. "We won't allow it to be."
The understanding within the St. Louis front office is that Pujols will not accept any trade going forward, sources told Olney on Jan. 29. He has the right to veto any trade proposal, and would do so.
This means there are only two possible results in the negotiations in the Pujols talks: Either he signs a contract extension with the Cardinals, or he will become a free agent this coming fall.
What happens after that remains to be seen, but the choices facing the Cardinals are expensive in different ways. Either St. Louis will negotiate a deal along the lines of what Pujols has asked for -- probably something in the neighborhood of the 10-year, $275 million deal that Alex Rodriguez signed with the Yankees in fall 2007 -- or the Cardinals will pay for the backlash after Pujols walks away.
Pujols led the National League with 42 homers last season and won his first league RBI title with 118. He also tied Matt Holliday for the team batting lead at .312.