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Cardinals CEO: Pujols talks “not that far along”

Jan 12, 2011, 7:08 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

You’ve all heard the details by now.

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols will make $16 million this season via a club option.  It’s a bargain rate, but this is also his last year under contract with the club and he will become a free agent if he is not locked up by next winter.

The slugger has informed the St. Louis front office that he doesn’t want negotiations to extend into the 2011 regular season because he thinks it could become a distraction.

In other words, the clock is ticking.

Earlier this winter the Cardinals expressed a desire to keep their negotiations with Pujols and his representatives out of the media.  They’ve either done a good job of that thus far or there is nothing go on.

Jon Paul Morosi of caught up with Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. on Wednesday and got every packaged response in the book when he asked about the Pujols extension talks.

“We’ve got time between now and then to get things done,” DeWitt said. “I’m hopeful. But these are big deals, and we’ll make every effort to get it accomplished.

Spring training is a long period of time — six weeks. Whether it’s reporting date, or a week after, I don’t view it as, ‘If it’s not done by this day, then . . .’ I don’t see a specific day.

We’re not that far along.”

The Cardinals almost certainly know where they stand with Pujols and his representatives.  Unless the two sides have simply been exchanging pleasantries for the past couple of months, it seems likely that contract numbers have at least been thrown around.  Now it’s all about finding a middle ground, and they have about 10 weeks to accomplish that feat.

  1. cup0pizza - Jan 12, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    If Albert ends up on the Yankees, Phillies or Cubs I’m gonna barf. Git r’done, redbirds!

  2. Jeremiah Graves - Jan 12, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    In theory the Yankees and Red Sox figure to be out of play on this one as they both have solid guys locked up at first base (assuming Adrian Gonzalez doesn’t suffer shoulder setbacks and void himself out of a long-term deal with Boston). Teixeira and Gonzo are both solid guys with the leather and at the dish, that means that for Pujols to get in the mix you’d be paying him nearly $30 million to DH or learn a new position. The Yankees figure to have their own $30 million DH in about 3-5 years and the Red Sox don’t seem like the kind of club that’ll commit that kind of money at DH.

    That really lives the Cards as the only REAL suitor in the mix. The Phillies locked up Ryan Howard for WAAAAY too long, so there’s no where for Prince Albert to play there. The Cubbies have an opening at first, but who knows what kind of money is available there. They’re going to be sitting on some baaaaaad contracts for quite awhile.

    I’d say the Cards, Dodgers and Angels make the most sense when the time comes. Maybe the Rangers go bonkers as well, but who else has the cash?! Seattle? No way Pujols goes to Seattle. Houston? They’re in a long-term rebuild. Colorado seems to have money, but odds are they’ll have given Helton an eight-year, $80 million extension by that point.

    I wouldn’t worry too much if I were a Cardinals fan.

    …unless the Royals or Nats get frisky, that is.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 13, 2011 at 8:22 AM

      BINGO. Albert is not suited for any position besides First base and DH. He has had back issues so playing another position is out of the question imo. Nobody in their right mind would spend that much $$$ on the man and take that chance. He’ll remain in St Louie, they’ll pay him plenty.

      I do see another scenerio in the making though… Ok, it’s more of a wish, which wishes have been coming true for Philly fans for a change.Trading Holliday to the Philadelphia Phillies… He’s cheaper and better than Werth. They could really use him, and Ruben Amaro is known for the baddest Slurveball around, and has a good repore with St Louis. Could they use Blanton? That’s the question.

    • Alex K - Jan 13, 2011 at 8:44 AM

      Pujols would push either Teixeira or Gonzalez off first. He’s a better feilder than either.

      It makes all the sense in the world for the Cubs to offer him the moon. Sure, they have some bad contracts, but I would also bet that they have plenty of money left over to pay Albert. I don’t think they will pry him away from the Cards if he’s a free agent, but they certainly make sense and have all the money necessary.

  3. rickmirer - Jan 13, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    Pay the man!

  4. smokehouse56 - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    Hey Cardinals. Just get out your checkbook and hang a picture of Jason Werth on the office wall because you are going to hear that name alot when it comes to signing your star.

  5. juanpablogonzalez45 - Jan 14, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    You’ll hear more of the “Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols” rumors getting whipped around, especially in the Philly market, because some fans are a little peeved about his strikeouts.

  6. elmaquino - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Albert will stay, Roy. Albert will stay…

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