Reports: Pujols, Cardinals Still Far Apart

USA Today

The public – and surprisingly heated – discourse that went on between the Yankees and Derek Jeter before they reached a contract extension this offseason raised questions about whether the relationship between the sides will ever be the same. And perhaps the Jeter situation helped bring about extremely private negotiations between the Cardinals and their franchise icon.

The sides have been virtually mum about their talks to extend first baseman Albert Pujols, a free agent after the season. But, according to news media reports, the discussion doesn’t appear to be progressing.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports the Cardinals don’t like Pujols’ asking price, though Rosenthal also says “a breakthrough toward a record extension might only be one phone call away.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss reports more flatly the sides aren’t anywhere close to agreeing to an extension.

Pujols’ camp has said it won’t negotiate an extension once Pujols reports to spring training. Strauss says the deadline is Feb. 15, though the first workout for Cardinals pitchers and catchers is Feb. 14. Cardinals position players report Feb. 18. Whatever the the official cut off-date, everyone, including Cardinals fans, realizes the clock is ticking.

According to Rosenthal’s report, Pujols wants a contract that recognizes him as the game’s premier player, one that would most likely have to top the 10-year, $275 million deal Alex Rodriguez signed with the Yankees in late 2007, at least in average annual salary.

Complete story available via USA Today

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