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.

  • Mike S

    5 Steps in order for Albert Pujols to become a Cub:

    1.) Pujols rejects the Cardinals offer: Complete
    2.) Pujols doesn’t lie about contract talks being done until the end of the season: To be determined
    3.) Pujols becomes a free agent: TBD
    4.) Cubs let Fukudome, Aramis Ramirez, and Pena leave at the end of 2011 season: Likely
    5.) Ricketts family writes a BIG FAT CHECK for 300 million for Albert Pujols: We can only hope!!

    • wax_eagle

      Maybe I’m in the minority, but I’m kinda sick of aging guys making 15+ million dollars to play slightly above replacement level. I have no desire to see the Cubs sign a long term high dollar deal with anyone in their early 30s.

      Don’t get me wrong, Pujols is a special player and may perform at and MPV level for the next couple of years, but guys taper off, old guys get hurt, etc. This isn’t the American league where a guy who can’t play the field can still get 600Abs a year as a DH.

      I’d rather the Cards keep him and keep paying him 30 mil/year when he is 42

  • Willis

    I don’t give a shit about the dollar amount if the Cubs get involved, I care about the length of the contract. 6-7 years would be about as long as I would go.

    Still a long way off and I am guessing the Cardinals retain him for a hefty amount.

    • Ace

      Well, you’re on the right track, but what matters is the total dollar amount. Length isn’t a bad thing if it’s at a much lower rate.

      Which is worse: 10 years at $20 million per, or 5 years at $40 million per? Sure, the latter is half the length, but it’s the same amount, and – because of the time value of money – you’re actually paying more on the second deal.

      • Willis

        Yeah I hear ya but I’m just basing my opinion on the thought that he is going to require at least $30 million a year from whoever he signs with…and probably more. If that is the case, I would be fine if they decided to throw $30-$35 millie at him, but only for a much shorter than 10 year deal.

  • Dan0mite

    The deadline was pushed back to 12pm Wednesday.

    • Cardfan

      Strongest signal yet that it is a done deal.

      • Ace

        It theoretically suggests they don’t want to announce the deal on Musial’s special day. In other words, it may not be an extension of the negotiating window, but instead an extension of the announcement.

        • Cardfan

          That is where I would move my chips. I am still thinking that this will be a 10 yr, $275M+ deal with deferrals aplenty…

          • Ace

            That would probably be the right move for both parties; forgive me for hoping no money is deferred, and that he gets closer to his $300 million target.

  • CubSouth

    The years are what is gonna bother me as well. I say let’s get Fielder and leave the Mets, Angels and Blue Jays to fight over Pujols for an even bigger contract and laugh at them in 2015 cause by then they would be paying $30 million a year to a guy who hit 24 homers a year and strikes out 150 times as well.

    • Cardfan

      On a $ per pound basis, he is a much better deal. as well…

  • Gyeva

    I truly think the cubs should go after fielder. He is younger and more promising. He won’t cost as much and will be better in the ladder half of his carrer

  • Hogan

    Better in the latter half of his career!? Pujols has been nothing but consistent, and has shown no point of decline. Fielder projects to be strictly a DH down the road, if he makes it to be relevant beyond 32. While I agree sighning Pujols for ten years at 30 mill is a bad idea, it is way better than ten years of Prince at 25 mill

    • Hogan

      And maybe I have become one of the desperate ones, but with our payroll if we could put a couple of championchip teams around Pujols (easily attainable with our young talent and a cool 130-140 mill), I will donate part of my salary to get him here!
      I am done with my mancrush rant, thank you for your time.