Albert Pujols told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he doesn’t want to think about his next contract, though he knows that “things will start to get crazy again” in a matter of weeks when he hits free agency for the first time in his career. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, who has’t discussed a contract with Pujols since Spring Training, says he still aims to lock the first baseman up to ensure that he spends the rest of his career in St. Louis.
"When we get to October," Mozeliak told Nightengale, "we'll start over and go from there. I can't characterize where we'll begin, but we've waited this long, we might want to see where the market brings."
The Cardinals offered Pujols a nine-year deal worth about $195MM last offseason, Nightengale reports. Earlier today, Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that the Cardinals' nine-year offer would have been worth $210MM and noted that the Cards aren't overly confident about retaining their biggest star. In any case, the offers weren’t enough to entice the 31-year-old Pujols. He and agent Dan Lozano were seeking a ten-year deal in the $230MM range.
There’s a long list of teams that could enter the sweepstakes for Pujols, who leads the National League with 34 homers and has a .293/.366/.549 line this year in his worst MLB season. There are rumblings that the Marlins may look to pursue Pujols or fellow free agent Prince Fielder this offseason before heading into their new stadium, according to Nightengale.