Albert Pujols’ pre-free agency version of The Decision is set to conclude on Tuesday, according to Bob Nightengale. Pujols has rejected a contract extension from the Cardinals, a source close to Pujols says, and will announce Tuesday (a day before his February 16th deadline) that contract discussions are over until after the season.
Pujols is roundly thought to be demanding a ten-year, $300 million extension. No one knows just where the Cardinals landed in their offer, but the prevailing wisdom is that, while they may have been willing to get close to the $30 million annual salary demand, the team limited its offer to the six to seven year range.
Sure to be a drumbeat among reporters on Wednesday, Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa recognizes the potential for trouble throughout the season.
“This is a spectacular distraction potentially,” LaRussa said. “We won’t allow it to be.”
While the right approach, La Russa ultimately will have little control over the Pujols story, which will grow and mutate weekly – if not daily – as the season goes on.