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Albert Pujols contract negotiations deadline passes without deal

4:35 PM, Feb 16, 2011   |    comments
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  • Albert Pujols' truck in Florida, but the slugger has not been spotted.
  • Albert Pujols (AP)
    

St. Louis (KSDK) - The deadline for the St. Louis Cardinals to work out a contract extension with Albert Pujols has passed.

With no word on the contract, it means the Cardinals risk losing the standout slugger and first basemen after the season, when he would become a free agent.

Mozeliak confirmed that the team did make a substantial, long-term offer. "We have agreed to keep all details confidential out of respect for the process," Mozeliak said.

The Cardinals said they felt good about the offer and they felt it recognized his iconic status and still would allow them to put out a successful club. The offer was made shortly after the first of the year and then there were counters. The Cardinals said they did not run out of time and that the two parties were just too far apart.

Pujols had a self-imposed 11:00 a.m. (CST) deadline to wrap contract negotiations.

"While we are disappointed that we did not reach an agreement, we remain hopeful that Albert will finish his career in St. Louis," said Cardinals Chairman William O. DeWitt Jr. "Albert has been playing baseball at the highest level for the Cardinals these past 10 years, providing us with countless great memories. We look forward to many more in 2011 and hopefully beyond. We are looking forward to this upcoming season and feel great about the team we have assembled. We respect Albert's decision to focus entirely on preparing for the 2011 season," DeWitt said, "We will honor his wishes and not discuss this matter until the completion of the season."

The Cardinals said they are always open to talking to players during the season, but out of respect for Pujols they will respect his wishes.

The Cardinals said Pujols is not expected to report to Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida on Wednesday. NewsChannel 5's Rene Knott is there and snapped a picture of Pujols' truck there, but the slugger had not been spotted.

Position players are scheduled to report three days from now.
ESPN reported on Wednesday the two sides were still far apart on the money involved in the deal, but apparently they have not been close for some time.

At Winter Warm-Up in mid-January, Pujols and his agent gave the Cardinals a deadline of Spring Training to work something out, in hopes of excelling the talks and because Pujols didn't want it to become a distraction.

It was at the end of the month when Pujols said he would reject any trade proposed to the Cardinals, which he has the ability to do because he has 10 years of service.

Just three days ago, it was reported that Pujols rejected the team's latest offer. Reports are Pujols still wanted a 10 year, $300-million deal.

Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, released a statement to USA TODAY comfirming that negotiations will not continue, and that Pujols will not discuss it further with the news media.

Said Lozano:

"After engaging in discussions with the St. Louis Cardinals Organization, we have suspended further negotiations until after the conclusion of the 2011 season, due to today's self-imposed deadline. At the beginning of this process, Albert decided a timetable needed to be established in which we would negotiate. We exchanged proposals with the Cardinals during that time. 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. 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."

"Albert's decision to suspend negotiations until after the season is made out of respect to his teammates, coaching staff and the Cardinals Organization. He wants to prevent this issue from becoming a distraction throughout the year. Albert cares a great deal about his teammates, manager Tony La Russa, and his coaching staff and respects their ability to prepare each and every day. Albert has also decided that he will not discuss his contract status for the duration of the season, including Spring Training. He asks the media to please respect this request. Albert would also like to reassure the Cardinals Nation that he is determined to bring a World Championship back to the city of St. Louis. He feels as strongly as ever that this team has the potential to win the World Series. That alone is why he will not permit his contractual situation to become a distraction or take away from his ability to reach that goal."

KSDK

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