Albert Pujols Reportedly Rejects Latest Contract Offer
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols has reportedly turned down the latest offer from the team and will announce Tuesday that he is ending negotiations on a new contract, according to a report in USA Today.
Citing someone close to Pujols, the newspaper reported he will not reopen discussion on the contract until after the season. His current deal ends at the end of the upcoming campaign, when the 31-year-old is eligible to become a free agent.
The veteran all-star is seeking a 10-year contract, the source told USA Today.
Pujols does not want the contract negotiations to become a distraction to him, particularly since the Cards open spring training on Wednesday in Jupiter, Fla. Pujols is expected to report on time to camp.
Unless an agreement can be reached between both sides by Tuesday, Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa supports his player's decision to then forgo negotiations until after the season.
"This is a spectacular distraction potentially," LaRussa said. "We won't allow it to be."
A website -- albertcoundown.com -- is already counting down the days to Wednesday and the expected termination of negotiations for the three-time MVP.
At least one major baseball executive said during a question and answer session at the Baltimore School of Law Sports Symposium over the weekend that he can't see the Cardinals giving into Pujols' reported contract demands.
"I read that he's looking for $30 million a year, and I just can't see how that's going to happen," said Baltimore Orioles president of baseball operations, Andy MacPhail.
Pujols' negotiations could have a domino effect on contract talks for other players in the league. USA Today cited Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder's situation as likely to be influenced by whatever happens to Pujols. Fielder is in the final year of an eight-year, $111 million contract that is expected to pay him $16 million for the 2011 season.
"Alex Rodriguez to Texas was the worst signing in the history of baseball in my view," said MacPhail, citing the $10 year, $252 million contract A-Rod signed over 10 years ago in December 2000. "There is this assumption that because this guy got (a big contract) and this guy got (an even larger contract), Albert Pujols has to get (the most of any other player). Well, what if there are no bidders? What if the music stops and there are no chairs."