Your daily Albert Pujols digest:
- Pujols’ self-imposed deadline first was yesterday before being extended by agreement with the Cardinals (which remains profoundly bizarre – what, if Pujols wants to discuss a new deal on Friday, the Cardinals are going to say “sorry, we agreed to a Wednesday deadline”?), and now runs until noon EST today.
- Pujols says he won’t report to camp until tomorrow, but today’s deadline is firm.
- SI’s Jon Heyman says the Cardinals offered Pujols an 8-year deal worth over $200 million (the annual amount uncertain, but presumably more than the $25 million Ryan Howard got from the Phillies), but the deal was rejected. The Cardinals, for their part, have denied the report.
- Jayson Stark reported this morning on Sportscenter that, barring a miraculous turn of events, no deal will be reached today.
- If that proves true, Tony La Russa will probably blame the MLB Players Union. La Russa says the Union is “beating up” on Pujols, pressuring him to hold out for the most money possible (on the theory that doing so helps all players). The Union, of course, denies the allegation – Director Michael Weiner (tee hee) says the Union has had no discussions with Pujols or his agent, and has no policy about pressuring players about contracts. But, like, come on. Of course the Union has a strong interest in the Pujols deal, and of course the Union would prefer he not give the Cardinals a sweetheart deal. I don’t like him, but I’m with La Russa on this one.
- If Pujols does become a free agent, expect a season-long soap opera almost on par with the LeBron James saga. Speaking of which, enjoy our take on the Pujols “Decision.”