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Albert Pujols Rumors
Bob Nightengale has a fantastic story up at USA Today that provides a timeline of the negotiations involving Albert Pujols and a handful of clubs at the Winter Meetings. The must-read piece includes word that Pujols' contract could be worth as much as $280MM with incentives. Here are the other highlights:
- When Dodgers manager Don Mattingly spoke to Pujols last weekend, he sensed Pujols wasn't entirely happy with the Cardinals: "You could just sense something was wrong. He was getting frustrated by it."
- The Marlins were "relentless," increasing their offer to Pujols multiple times until it reached $275MM. They expected to leave Dallas having signed Pujols, but never offered the no-trade clause he wanted.
- A mystery team (not the Angels) stepped in on Monday and offered Pujols ten years and $225MM. This mystery club "refuses to be publicly identified," writes Nightengale.
- On Tuesday, the Cardinals offered a nine-year, $210MM deal with a tenth-year vesting option. At around this time, the Marlins were eliminated from the mix (whether by Pujols or the team), narrowing the decision to the Cards and the mystery team.
- Late Tuesday, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto called agent Dan Lozano to talk Pujols. Early Wednesday morning, the Halos offered a ten-year deal worth about $250MM.
- As of Wednesday night, Lozano expected Pujols to mull the decision for a few days, but the slugger called him early this morning to accept the Angels' offer.
Albert Pujols and the Angels agreed to a $254MM deal today that will keep the longtime Cardinal under contract until he's 41. As you can imagine, the signing has inspired some reactions across the league. Here are a few takes and additional details on the second-largest contract in baseball history:
Tim Dierkes' take: In hindsight, it was odd to be talking about offers in the $200MM range on the open market for Pujols, who still may be the best hitter in baseball. It seems that ultimately the Cardinals were way behind in their offer, as both the Marlins and Angels offered over $40MM more. Before the 2011 season, a contract for Pujols topping Alex Rodriguez's $275MM seemed possible in free agency, but a rough start to the season and the lowest walk rate of Pujols' career might have given a few teams pause. Plus, the Yankees and Red Sox weren't involved.
Almost all long-term contracts end badly. Angels owner Arte Moreno knows that, and he's going for broke for the next three to four years. I generally appreciate an owner who is willing to do that. We see teams overpay for dozens of free agents every winter; Angels fans should be glad their owner did it for the best free agent in years.
I can't speak for Cardinals fans, but I don't see cause to be angry toward Pujols or the team. The Cardinals made the best offer they could reasonably afford, and it was nowhere near the others. They still have a strong team and the glow of two recent World Series wins. As for Albert, if I was him I wouldn't have agreed to a contract that made me the fourth-best-paid first baseman in the game.
Additonal Pujols reactions:
- The signing makes the Angels much better in the short term, but it's "almost unthinkable that this contract will look like a good one in 2021 when we look back on it after its conclusion," writes ESPN.com's Keith Law (Insider required).
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs agrees with Law, saying the Angels will need a lot of breaks in order for the deal to work out long-term.
- The Angels were the "unlikely beneficiary of the Cardinals' inactivity," says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Cardinals fans have the right to feel bitter, but comparing Pujols to LeBron James is misguided, since Pujols and the Cards won two championships, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- "I would like our fans to know that we tried our best to make Albert a lifetime Cardinal but unfortunately we were unable to make it happen," Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said as part of a statement, thanking Albert for his achievements and community contributions.
- Two other FOX Sports scribes provided their takes on the deal as well.
- At today's press conference, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto praised the athleticism of Mark Trumbo, now the Angels' former first baseman. Dipoto mentioned third base, designated hitter, and the outfield as possibilities for Trumbo, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- Appearing on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, Dipoto said the Angels didn't get heavily involved with Pujols until the last 24 hours before they reached an agreement.
- Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spoke to a few National League GMs who are happy to see Pujols switching leagues. "I'll miss seeing him," said Reds GM Walt Jocketty. "But I won't miss facing him."
- Typically big spenders, the Yankees and Red Sox weren't in on the Pujols bidding. Yanks GM Brian Cashman "gave it a nice, respectful no" when Pujols' camp approached him, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. Sox GM Ben Cherington said it would have taken "huge, fundamental changes" to the team's roster and payroll to sign Pujols, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
- As we discussed earlier, the Angels' offer wasn't the largest one Pujols received — the Marlins' ten-year proposal topped it.
With $191MM committed to Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell, Marlins fans can't complain about their offseason so far. Only one of the 5,020 entrants in MLBTR's free agent prediction contest, Matthew Lazear, correctly guessed in November that the Marlins would sign all three. However, it's interesting to note that the Marlins also made the highest bids on top free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, who ultimately went to the Angels today.
Pujols received ten years and $254MM from the Angels, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the Marlins offered ten years and $275MM. That would have tied Alex Rodriguez for the largest contract guarantee in baseball history. Nightengale says that with incentives and Florida's lack of a state income tax, the deal could have been worth nearly $300MM.
Wilson signed a five-year, $77.5MM deal with the Halos, but agent Bob Garber told Ken Rosenthal Wilson could "easily" have gotten $100MM, and the Marlins "would not let it go." Said Wilson: "But if it were just about money I'd be a Marlin, straight up, because they offered more money, they have a great situation."
The Marlins reportedly stuck to their policy of not including a no-trade clause for either player, which may have been a factor in their decisions.
The Angels are the bridesmaid no more. Albert Pujols signed a ten-year deal with the Angels, reports Yahoo's Tim Brown. He receives a full no-trade clause. Pujols decided this morning, writes Brown. The Angels have since announced the monumental signing, which ESPN's Buster Olney says is for $254MM. It's the second-largest contract in baseball history in terms of overall and average annual value, behind Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM deal with the Yankees four years ago. Pujols is represented by Dan Lozano of Icon Sports Group.
Pujols, 32 in January, was drafted by the Cardinals in 1999 in the 13th round and began his career with a staggering 11-year stretch. The first baseman is the active career leader in batting average (.328) and slugging percentage (.617). He's second among active players in career on-base percentage at .421, so Pujols certainly fits new Angels GM Jerry Dipoto's plan to improve the team's OBP. Pujols owns a Rookie of the Year award and three MVP awards, and has ranked no worse than ninth in the MVP voting in every season of his career. He's been extremely durable, averaging 155 games per season.
Pujols anchors an Angels offense that ranked tenth in the American League in 2011 with 4.12 runs scored per game. With Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo, Dipoto now has a surplus at first base, but reportedly he won't trade either. Within an hour of the Pujols signing breaking, Dipoto completed a five-year, $77.5MM deal with free agent lefty C.J. Wilson, bringing the team's total today to $331.5MM.
The Cardinals signed Pujols to a long-term deal in 2004, which ended up being a huge bargain at $111MM over eight years. Pujols and the Cardinals failed to find common ground on an extension in February this year, but the contract didn't seem a distraction as the team ended up winning the World Series.
The suddenly free-spending Marlins made the high bid for Pujols this offseason at ten years and $275MM, but they would not bend on their policy of avoiding full no-trade clauses. They seemingly dropped out after signing Mark Buehrle. The Cubs reportedly made an offer to Pujols as well. Up until Thursday morning, the Cardinals were considered the favorite, though they reportedly topped out with a nine-year offer that was just the fourth-best he received. Pujols could have been the next Stan Musial, but even a call from the legendary Cardinals Hall of Famer couldn't convince him to take less money to stay in St. Louis. It's not much of a consolation prize, but the Cardinals will receive the Angels' #19 pick in the 2012 draft as well as a supplemental choice.
With Pujols off the market, Prince Fielder is the top prize still available for teams looking to add a big bat. However, based on recent reports, the most aggressive suitors for Pujols, the Cardinals and Marlins, won't be involved in the bidding for Fielder.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
We heard late last night that there is "no shot" Albert Pujols will make a decision before the Winter Meetings end. Still, here's the latest on the man who has $200MM+ offers from three teams including the Cardinals, Angels, and a mystery team who would reportedly need to trade an established first baseman to clear a path for the three-time MVP:
- The Angels want both Pujols and C.J. Wilson, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Angels have offered Pujols a ten-year deal worth at least $210MM and Wilson a five-year deal worth more than $70MM, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says that the Yankees are not the mystery team that's trying to set up a Pujols deal (Twitter link). That makes sense, given that Mark Teixeira has a full no-trade clause in his contract.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
The Cardinals, Angels, and a third team are still involved in the bidding for Albert Pujols, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The third team is not the Marlins, who are out of the running for the slugger.
In today's round-up of Pujols rumors, we also learned that the Cardinals' offer may be for only nine years, rather than ten. It was also reported that Pujols still has three offers in excess of $200MM+ on the table, even with the Marlins out of the mix. It's unclear if the Angels have extended that significant an offer, but Yahoo's Tim Brown tweets that the Halos are "in strong." Here's the latest on Pujols:
- There's "no shot" Pujols is ready to sign before the meetings are over, or perhaps anytime soon, writes Stark. He also says that there is less and less skepticism that a third team really is in the bidding, and that the team is believed to be a club with an established first baseman it would need to trade to accommodate Pujols.
- The Angels say they can afford to sign both Pujols and Wilson, tweets USA Today's Bob Nightengale, noting that doing so would likely require $300MM.
- A decision from Pujols isn't coming before the end of the Winter Meetings, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.
- The Angels' bid for Pujols is for ten years and at least $210MM, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- A "Pujols associate" tells Jon Heyman of MLB Network that it would probably take "$40MM more" from a team besides the Cardinals for Pujols to leave St. Louis (Twitter link).
- C.J. Wilson is seriously considering signing with the Angels, in which case the Halos would almost certainly be out on Pujols, tweets Rosenthal.
- Within a piece at FOX Sports, Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi write that the Angels had a "lengthy set of negotiations" with agent Dan Lozano today.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
The latest on free agent superstar Albert Pujols…
- Marlins people are saying they withdrew their offer to Pujols, not the other way around, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Either way, the end result is the same: the Marlins are out.
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today confirms (via Twitter) the Marlins are no longer involved, but says Pujols still has three offers in excess of $200MM. It's hard to imagine which teams besides the Cardinals would be offering that much.
- Well, it looks like the Marlins won't sign every top free agent on the market. ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick hears that Dan Lozano has told the Marlins they're out of the running for Pujols, though there are still clubs involved besides the Cardinals (Twitter links).
- The Cardinals' offer currently on the table is for nine years, not ten, according to Buster Olney (via Twitter). Meanwhile, the Marlins aren't completely out on Pujols, but won't increase their offer, tweets MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- Pujols appears headed back to the Cardinals and the two sides are believed to be only a few million dollars apart on a ten-year deal, reports Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.
- The Marlins are moving on emotionally from the Pujols talks, tweets Buster Olney, though they haven't necessarily pulled their offer.
- Pujols' camp is attempted to extract every possible nickel in an offer from Miami so they can take that to the Cardinals, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- The Marlins are still in on Pujols, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters his focus has not been on Pujols.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick hears lots of buzz in Dallas that the Pujols decision is shifting in the Cardinals' direction.
- Pujols is likely heading back to the Cardinals, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. He says the Marlins are shifting their attention to Prince Fielder, while several others say they'll turn to pitching targets.
- A Cardinals source sees a good chance of a resolution one way or another today on Pujols, tweets Jon Paul Morosi. Buster Olney says there's a growing sense among some officials involved in the Pujols talks that he's staying with the Cardinals.
- The Cubs are still involved in the Pujols talks, tweets Ken Rosenthal, though the extent is unclear.
- The Marlins say they've made their final offer to Pujols, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, though an additional meeting with agent Dan Lozano remains possible.
- The Cardinals are meeting with Pujols' camp this morning, tweets MLB Network's Jon Heyman. Heyman believes the Marlins' ten-year offer is in the $200-220MM range.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the Cardinals' newest offer to Pujols is believed to approach $220MM over 10 years. The Cards didn't place a deadline on their offer, and general manager John Mozeliak said this wouldn't necessarily be the club's final offer. Strauss is unsure if all 10 years are guaranteed, or if the tenth year involves some kind of option.
Tim Dierkes and Luke Adams contributed to this post.
The competition for the biggest prize on the free agent market doesn't appear to be the two-horse race we expected. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Angels are also pursuing Albert Pujols. Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds that an AL official insisted to him today that the Angels were in on Pujols, though an official with the Halos denied it (Twitter links).
In today's mammoth recap of Pujols rumors, we heard that three teams have extended offers of ten years and at least $200MM to Pujols — the Marlins, the Cardinals, and a mystery team. While the Cubs were also reported to still be interested, the Angels may represent that mystery club. Here are the latest updates on Pujols, with the newest on top:
- Yahoo's Tim Brown tweets that the Angels are "definitely not in on Pujols," but that the Cubs have made contact.
- The Marlins offer to Pujols includes provisions that would link Pujols to the Marlins beyond his playing career as a way to show their long-term commitment without including no-trade protection, writes Stark.
- Pujols' future "won't be decided tonight," tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.
- Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel tweets that a Marlins source told him they're not expecting an answer tonight.
- The Marlins haven't given Pujols a deadline or ultimatum, says Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (on Twitter). A decision may come before sunrise, and Capozzi hears the Marlins are "very confident" (Twitter link).
- Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.com hears from a source that Pujols is down to the Marlins and Cardinals, "period" (Twitter link).
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi have a complete story up at FOX Sports on the status of the Pujols negotiations, including the Angels' interest. Within the piece, the FOX scribes say the dollar figure the Marlins are offering is acceptable to Pujols, but the two sides are "trying to work through no-trade issues."
- Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times spoke to an AL GM who said "no way" to the Angels' rumored interest, while Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says the Cubs are "definitely not" in on Pujols (Twitter links). Whether or not those two clubs are involved, the Cardinals and Marlins still appear to be the favorites.
- Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter link) spoke to two Angels people who were "shocked" to hear they were considered the mystery team for Pujols. However, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports and Jon Heyman of MLB Network are both hearing that it is, in fact, the Angels (Twitter links).
- Joe Frisaro of MLB.com tweets that the Marlins were hoping for resolution on Pujols soon, but it's looking less likely it will happen tonight.
After a pair of meetings between the Marlins and agent Dan Lozano on Monday, Albert Pujols reportedly has a whopping ten-year offer in hand to join Jose Reyes in Miami. The Cardinals and Cubs met with Lozano yesterday as well. Here's the latest on Pujols…
- The Cubs are "definitely in" on Pujols still, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. If nothing else, they want to make things hard on the Cards by increasing the bidding, says Sherman.
- The Marlins' brass completed their evening meeting with Dan Lozano, but told reporters, including Ken Rosenthal, that they had nothing to report. The Fish aren't sure if a third team is involved in the bidding, tweets Jon Paul Morosi. If there's a mystery team, it's definitely not the Phillies this year, tweets Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.
- The Mystery Team has entered the mix! USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that a third team, in addition to the Marlins and Cardinals, has made an offer to Pujols. All three offers are for ten years and at least $200MM, according to Nightengale.
- The Marlins are pushing "very, very hard" to get closure on Pujols tonight, so they can move one way or the other, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports. They don't want to be used to jack up the Cardinals' bid, and want to move on to other free agents if they don't land Pujols (all Twitter links).
- The Cardinals expect resolution "sooner rather than later" and indicated that the ball is in Pujols' court, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Marlins also would like resolution soon, tweets Morosi. Meanwhile, the Marlins met with an official from the commissioner's office tonight, and a possible Pujols contract was the topic of discussion, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- A source tells Martino (Twitter link) to be "on red alert" for a Pujols deal tonight.
- The Marlins' offer to Pujols is believed to be in the neighborhood of $220MM, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports (via Twitter). Cardinals GM John Mozeliak confirmed to reporters, including B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest (Twitter link), that his team made another offer to Pujols today.
- The Marlins also remain hopeful on Pujols, having offered a "creative" contract, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- Talking to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, Cards chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. declined to offer odds on the team re-signing Pujols: "I'm hopeful, but I don't like to use the word 'optimistic.' We're realistic about the fact that it may not happen." (all Twitter links).
- Marlins president David Samson countered Spencer, saying the team will not sign a free agent to a deal including a no-trade clause.
- In a break with team policy, the Marlins are willing to give Pujols a no-trade clause, tweets Clark Spencer. This could be a major development. The Cardinals are still alive for now, tweets Joe Strauss.
- Marlins' brass concluded the 75-minute Lozano meeting without public comment.
- The Marlins are heading up to meet with Lozano and expect a Pujols decision soon, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- As you might expect, the Marlins' ten-year offer exceeds $200MM, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The Cardinals are expected to counter today.
- There is optimism that the Marlins and Lozano will work through the no-trade clause hurdle, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, though Ken Rosenthal says the Marlins will not relent completely on the clause.
- The Cardinals do not expect to get an opportunity to match or beat an offer from another team before Pujols accepts, hears Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals have not ruled out a ten-year offer for Pujols, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi's club source says it depends on the average annual value.
- The Cubs submitted a bid for Pujols, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. However, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat says a Cubs official denied the report.
- The Marlins' reported ten-year bid includes an average annual value that tests or exceeds $20MM, writes Strauss, but it does not include full no-trade protection. The Marlins will meet with Lozano again today. One club executive who spoke to Strauss pegged the team's chances of signing Pujols at 50-50.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets a reminder that the disconnect in last offseason's negotiations between Pujols and the Cardinals wasn't the length, but the proposed annual value of $22MM.
- Not surprisingly, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution hears that the Marlins would trade Gaby Sanchez if Pujols lands in Miami (Twitter link). Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune thinks the Cubs would try for Sanchez in that scenario.
Tim Dierkes and Luke Adams contributed to this post.
The latest on free agent first baseman Albert Pujols, with the newest updates on top…
- The Marlins' new offer to Pujols is for ten years, tweets MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
- Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio tweets that the newest Marlins offer is the one Lozano needed to bring to the Cardinals in order to push St. Louis to up their own bid.
- The Marlins met with Pujols twice on Monday night, writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports, and boosted their nine-year offer to Pujols in the process. No decision was imminent as midnight approached, according to Miller.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets that the Marlins are set to meet with Lozano on Tuesday as well.
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark talked to a source who described Pujols' meeting with the Marlins today as "very positive, very upbeat." The club hopes to meet with Pujols again tonight to determine one way or the other if the slugger is seriously considering the Fish.
- The Cardinals view the Marlins as "a real threat" for Pujols, tweets Newsday's Ken Davidoff. Davidoff says the Cards will meet with Lozano tonight, while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Marlins may meet with Pujols' reps again tonight as well.
- The meeting between Pujols' agent Dan Lozano and the Marlins lasted 30 minutes, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says the Marlins have strong interest in Pujols.
- The Cubs met with Lozano today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Cardinals have yet to modify their January proposal to Pujols, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That was a nine-year offer worth about $22MM per year, so only eight years remain if the offer is still valid. Strauss believes the offer included significant deferred money, as does the Marlins' current nine-year proposal. The Cubs' interest in Pujols is viewed skeptically, while the Blue Jays are "believed a potential player." The Marlins and Cardinals are expected to meet with Lozano today, writes Strauss.