Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak and Dan Lozano, Pujols’s agent, met Tuesday night at the general managers’ meeting in Milwaukee for the first time since talks on a new contract broke off before the season began. At that time, Pujols and company turned down an offer in the $198 million-$205 million range.
“Our goal is to try to find a way to keep Albert Pujols,” Mozeliak said (via ESPN), “and that's what we'll focus on as we move forward.”
Pujols visited the Marlins last week and, according to Yahoo’s Tim Brown, there’s an offer, possibly exploratory and perhaps unrealistic, of a nine-year deal, with Brown speculating that the total value would rise to around $225 million. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald’s Fish Bytes blog, however, cites a source who says the figure is “wildly inflated.”
Before this is over and Pujols settles with either a new team or with the only team for which he has played, he is expected to draw interest from the Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs and Anaheim Angels. The bottom line, though, is that the Cardinals, according to Mozeliak, are willing to reward Pujols for his iconic status as well as his talents. Pujols, 31, hit .299 with 37 homers and 99 RBIs and tied the record held by Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson with three home runs in Game 3 of the World Series.
“From a strategic standpoint I don't think we need to divorce ourselves from that or to try to simply ignore it,” Mozeliak told the Post-Dispatch. “The facts are he's an iconic player and he's been the face of this organization for a long time. To deny that or to fail to recognize it, I don't think you're looking at it through the proper set of lenses.”