The Albert Pujols contract extension negotiations deadline, of course, passed on Wednesday without an agreement having been reached. What's gone pretty much unknown to this point is the size of any and all offers the Cardinals made to their star first baseman, but Joe Strauss tracked down a few sources:
While Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak declined to discuss specifics of the team's initial offer, sources familiar with the process described the package's total value at more than $200 million over nine or 10 years. Once rejected, the deal took several other forms that involved shifting years and salary and apparently even an equity stake in the team.
"More than $200 million" is an interesting statement, since "more" implies "greater than" with no upper bound. However, it's safe to assume the Cardinals never came close to offering Pujols the ten-year, $300 million contract he was said to be seeking.
But then, was he really seeking that much? Said Pujols earlier on Thursday:
Pujols on his asking price: "You guys are way off on what the numbers are you guys are throwing out there."
That statement seems to suggest that Pujols would've signed for a good deal less than what was being reported, which might explain why the rumored terms of the Cardinals' offers are so surprisingly low. But ultimately, even if Pujols' asking price has been lower than $300 million, no agreement could be reached anyway, despite a handful of tweaks that at one point even included a stake in the team. Which is why we're in our present situation now. The Cardinals aren't going to trade Pujols during the season, and they'll have a brief window of opportunity to negotiate with him again after the year, but they'll be hard-pressed to keep this from being the distraction it so clearly has the potential to be.