6:24pm: ESPN's Buster Olney says (via Twitter) that if a contract can not be worked out by the deadline, Pujols "is intent on testing the free agent market." SI.com's Jon Heyman spoke to one executive that thinks Pujols would get 20% less than expected on the open market because big spenders like the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and Tigers don't figure to enter the bidding given their first base situation (Twitter link).
Olney speculates that the Cubs, Angels, Dodgers, and Giants could be interested.
1:41pm: Dan Lozano, the agent for Albert Pujols, notified the Cardinals that Spring Training is the deadline for a new deal to be struck, GM John Mozeliak told Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). Earlier this week, Cards chariman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said that he was "hopeful" that the club can extend Pujols by Opening Day.
It's difficult to find a dead-on comparison for the stellar slugger, but our own Ben Nicholson-Smith suggested that Pujols could compare himself to Alex Rodriguez who is earning $27.5MM per season over the life of his newest contract. We don't know much about the inner-workings of the talks as it is, but earlier today Mozeliak vowed to keep his lips sealed on the matter.