Albert Pujols Signs 10-Year Deal With Los Angeles Angels

The 2011 Winter Meetings are this week. Storylines: Albert Pujols will sign with the Angels (10 years, between $250 and $260 million), according to @TBrownYahoo.

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Albert Pujols Contract: Turns Out Money Was Important After All

Albert Pujols proved Thursday that making statements about free agent negotiations not being about the money—in any sport, for any person—is a bad idea, signing the Los Angeles Angels’ 10-year, $254 million deal instead of the St. Louis Cardinals’ final offer, which was apparently in the range of $210 million. Pujols had just finished rejecting the advances of the Miami Marlins, which were apparently both "creative"—in the potentially negative Chinese-curse sense—and worth even more than the Angels or the Cardinals’ offer.

So that’s it: Pujols is now an Angel—narrowly, as it turns out, the highest-paid Angel on the team, with Vernon Wells making a kind-of-hilarious $21 million a year after earning more than $26 million.

As for the Cardinals, expect a restrained approach to their newfound Pujols millions, at least in the early going—Jose Reyes, the most sensible choice for free agent rebound, as well as Jimmy Rollins and Mark Buehrle, the most frequently bandied-about choices, have all already been snapped up.


Albert Pujols Rumors: St. Louis Cardinals Meet (Or Not), Marlins Announcing Jose Reyes

MLB Rumor Mill Angst: According to a tweet from Jon Heyman, the St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols were meeting just moments ago, trying to get a deal done; according to Ken Rosenthal minutes later, the Cardinals haven’t met with Pujols today at all, but plan to later. Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins are in the process of what is either a troll or a double-troll—after announcing they’d hold a press conference this morning they announced that it was actually a press conference to announce their signing of Jose Reyes, already a done deal in the press.

There’s a non-zero chance, given the way negotiations have gone so far, that this press conference involves Jeffrey Loria hitting Jose Reyes with a steel chair, telling the Hilton Anatole he HATES Texas, and escaping with Albert Pujols to form the New World Order as the 31st MLB franchise.

The good news, though: The Cardinals are now seen by some national writers as the tentative favorites in Pujols negotiations. How little that means could become apparent as early as today.


Albert Pujols Rumors: St. Louis Cardinals Go 10 Years, $220 Million, Per Reports

The St. Louis Cardinals can't be accused of bowing out prematurely as the Winter Meetings contract maelstrom between them, the Miami Marlins, and Albert Pujols's gleeful agent continue into the night—according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals have gone all the way up to 10 years and "more than $220 million." Also worth clicking through for: The terrifying language from John Mozeliak, who is unwilling to guarantee or even think about guaranteeing anything. 

The Marlins' constant meetings have produced a contract described elsewhere as creative—Strauss suggests the creativity comes in part through significant amounts of deferred money, which should be useful when Jeffrey Loria and the Marlins bail on contending after three years like they always do. 

The Cardinals, meanwhile, can only wait: JIm Bowden of ESPN, if you're willing to overlook his stories career as GM, suggests the Marlins will have the better offer but the Cardinals will have Pujols, which would really be the perfect situation for Cardinals fans at this point, who've grown wary of Pujols's long-held positions that it wasn't about the money, that he'd like to stay in St. Louis, and that he demands competitiveness first. 


2011 St. Louis Cardinals Trade Rumors: Cards Reportedly Shopping Kyle Lohse

According to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, the St. Louis Cardinals are shopping for a suitor take on RHP Kyle Lohse. The trade, says Rogers, is intended to free up a rotation spot and roster space for a potential Mark Buehrle signing:

... the source indicated that the Cardinals are trying to make room for Buehrle by trading right-hander Kyle Lohse... He’s had an up-and-down career and is due to make $11.875 million this season, however, which lessens his desirability considerably.

The 33-year-old Lohse finished last season with an above-average 3.39 ERA and 3.67 FIP through 188 and 1/3 innings.

The Cardinals are also currently engaged in a bidding war against the Miami Marlins for the services of Albert Pujols. However, but replacing Lohse with Buehrle, they are almost certainly reducing their available budget for Pujols.

Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Cardinals be sure to visit Viva El BirdosVisit Baseball Nation for more news and notes around the league.


MLB Rumors 2011: Marlins Meet With Pujols's Agent At Winter Meetings, Cubs Make Weird Excuse

The St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins, and Chicago Cubs all met with Albert Pujols's agent, Dan Lozano, on day one of the 2011 Winter Meetings, and depending on which MLB rumors aggregator you follow Pujols is either guaranteed to leave the Cardinals, all but ready to resign with them, or a thousand-year-old demigod who faked his age to get across the river Styx and attend high school in America. Here's what we do know about the Winter Meetings' first day and the Cardinals' first priority: 

1. The Marlins and Lozano met—for 30 minutes, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. We don't know anything more about this meeting, although the Marlins' avowed reluctance to offer no-trade clauses—because, you might remember, they love trading superstars—might come into contact with Albert Pujols's avowed desire to be treated with the respect he's due. 

2. The Cubs and Lozano met, and Theo Epstein is a funny guy. Apparently he suggested the meeting was to resign Rodrigo Lopez, another Lozano client and staff ace of the 2002 Baltimore Orioles.

3. The Cardinals and Lozano met, although the Post-Dispatch notes that little more is known about the meeting at the moment. I expect we'll be hearing about a big multi-year deal for Rodrigo Lopez sometime this week. 


Albert Pujols Rumors: Miami Marlins To Meet With Pujols's Agent

The Miami Marlins (formerly the Florida Marlins) are meeting with Albert Pujols's agent according to ESPN's Buster Olney:

Marlins are meeting with Albert Pujols's agent, Dan Lozano, later today... Momentum continues to build. 10 minutes ago via Mobile Web · powered by @socialditto

Pujols, who has played his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals, previously rejected a 9-year $200M contract offer from the Cardinals, but building controversy about his age has seemingly dulled the market for his skills, leaving the Cardinals offer as the top one available.

The Marlins previously offered Pujols a 9-year contract worth less than $200M, but after suddenly signing top shortstop free agent Jose Reyes on Sunday night, the Marlins may be looking to make another splash this afternoon. Pujols, who has hit 445 career home runs, has never played fewer than 140 games in a season and has a Hall-of-Fame-like career slash of .328/.420/.617.

Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Cardinals be sure to visit Viva El Birdos. Visit Baseball Nation for more news and notes around the league.


Albert Pujols Contract Talks Continue At Winter Meetings; Marlins Sign Jose Reyes

The St. Louis Cardinals' 2011 Winter Meetings experience begins with Albert Pujols contract talks, for good or ill.

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