The deadline for first baseman Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals to negotiate a contract extension has passed without a new deal in place. The three-time MVP has made clear that he will not continue talks during the season, leaving it likely for him to test the free-agent market when his current deal expires. The Cardinals most recent offer would place Pujols in the league’s top 10 in salary. The nine-year veteran is expected to collect $16 million this season in his contract’s final year.
“The expiration of today’s deadline does not eliminate the possibility of Albert returning to the Cardinals in 2012, but simply delays negotiations until the conclusion of the Cardinals’ season,” said Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano in a prepared statement. “He feels as strongly as ever that this team has the potential to win the World Series. That alone is why he will not permit his contractual situation to become a distraction or take away from his ability to reach that goal.” Pujols has produced a .331 career batting average and averaged 41 homers and 123 RBIs. He’s won six Silver Slugger Awards and two Gold Gloves.
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