Albert Pujols, Cardinals Fail to Reach Deal
Pujols can become a free agent after the 2011 season, and the three-time NL MVP has said all offseason that he does not wish for extension talks to become a distraction by dragging into spring training and beyond.
"While we are disappointed that we did not reach an agreement, we remain hopeful that Albert will finish his career in St. Louis," Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement.
"We respect Albert's decision to focus entirely on preparing for the 2011 season. We will honor his wishes and not discuss this matter until the completion of the season."
Pujols' agent Dan Lozano echoed DeWitt Jr. in a statement of his own, but also hinted at exactly why a deal could not be consummated.
"While both parties were hopeful that an agreement could be reached, a difference of opinion in determining Albert's value simply could not be resolved," Lozano said.
"Albert's production over the last 10 years is nothing short of historic. He is not only the best player in baseball, and on his way to having a Hall of Fame career, but an iconic figure in sports.
"The expiration of today's deadline does not eliminate the possibility of Albert returning to the Cardinals in 2012, but simply delays negotiations until the conclusion of the Cardinals' season."
The 31-year-old is believed to be seeking a record pay day that would exceed the 10-year, $275 million deal Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez received after the 2007 season.
Sources told FanHouse's Steve Phillips that there had been little in the way of substantive negotiations between Pujols and the team in recent weeks. According to those sources, the Cardinals have maintained all along that while Pujols is the game's pre-eminent talent, they do not have the resources to meet his demands.
SI.com reported on Tuesday night that Pujols had received an eight-year offer from St. Louis worth somewhere between $25-30 million annually.
The Cardinals claimed that they made a "substantial" offer to Pujols in the press release announcing that no deal had been reached, but declined to discuss the details of the negotiations any further.
Steve Phillips breaks down both sides of the Albert Pujols story. Click to watch: