Several clubs have already indicated their interest in head of the 2012 free agent class, Albert Pujols. While the Miami Marlins have been the latest team to submit a contract offer to the future Hall of Famer, the St. Louis Cardinals haven’t budged. This trend figures to continue as Jon Heyman of SI.com reports the Cardinals “don’t plan to greatly increase” their original offer to Pujols.
Before the 2011 season began, the Cardinals extended an offer to their all-world first baseman, a nine-year $210 million deal. This breaks down to roughly $23.3 million per season over the nine years. While nine-year deals are basically unheard of, Pujols’s agent was not happy with the yearly salary. Because he didn’t feel the annual payout represented the level of talent his client possessed, Dan Lozano advised Pujols to put off contract talks until after the season.
Fast-forward to November. Pujols and the Cardinals are coming off a World Series win, but before the postseason, Pujols was having a down year by his standards. Another factor that could impact negotiations; long-time St. Louis manager Tony La Russa retired following the Series. All of this goes into the discussion of what Pujols’s next contract will look like.
St. Louis appears to have some leverage. As mentioned above, Pujols is coming off a un-Pujols-like season. Many of the large market clubs that have the ability to give Pujols and his agent the type of deal they are looking for are already set at first base.
Still, this is Albert Pujols we’re talking about. Wherever he ends up, he will get paid.
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