Albert Pujols is considering 10-year contract offers from the Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals and an unconfirmed third team that sources indicate is the Los Angeles Angels.
A three-time M.V.P. first baseman, Pujols entered free agency this year after spending ten seasons with the Cardinals.
The Marlins, who recently acquired shortstop Jose Reyes, reportedly offered a contract worth at least $200 million over 10 years. Marlins management met with Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano in Miami on Tuesday but regretted to inform reporters that nothing had been finalized.
It is believed the Cardinals have offered Pujols a 10-year contract worth up to $220 million. Pujols has not ruled out a return to St. Louis, but speculation of his departure began before last season even started.
The defending champion Cardinals would be put in a tight financial spot if Pujols accepts the contract. Paying Pujols would put the club close to the $110 million annual budget. Management has apparently decided to sacrifice needs at shortstop and in the bullpen for Pujols’ game-changing talent.
An anonymous source told USA Today that the Angels are offering a contract with similar terms. A winter press conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon was cancelled, however, citing that the club had nothing to report.
Analysts have also linked the Chicago Cubs to Pujols, especially since former Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein took control of the club’s roster in October. Epstein is known for aggressively acquiring big name players – his rosters led the Red Sox to two world championships in four years.
But prior management mistakes have left the Cubs with a lot of bad contracts to pay and little room to be flexible. The more likely choice for Chicago is ex-Brewer Prince Fielder, who is attached to a smaller price tag, but possesses similar talents to Pujols.
Pujols, who will be 32 in January, is on pace for a Hall of Fame career. He currently owns a career .328 batting average, .420 on-base percentage, 445 home runs and 1,329 runs batted in.
Other teams reportedly considering Pujols are the Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers.