The St. Louis Cardinals have re-opened contract negotiations with now free-agent Albert Pujols for the first time since February, according to a tweet from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Prior to spring training, Pujols set a Feb. 16 deadline for the Cardinals to work out a deal to sign him to an extension before the season began. The 31-year-old did so in order to avoid negotiations during both training camp and the regular season. The two sides were not able to work out a deal, and while Pujols had arguably his worst season as a professional in 2011, he helped lead St. Louis to a World Series title.
It has been rumored that the Cardinals offered Pujols a deal worth upwards of $200 million prior to Feb. 2011 deadline.
Pujols has already reportedly received a substantial offer from the Miami Marlins this winter. While no specific details have been released about the offer, some have reported that the total package presented by the Marlins is larger than the one offered by the Cardinals prior to the beginning of the season. The Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, and Washington Nationals are also believed to be in the market for Pujols.
In 2011 the first baseman hit .299/.366/.541 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI. It marked the first time in his 11-year career that the former MVP had failed to hit at least .300 and at least 100 RBI. It was also the first time since 2002 that he posted an on-base percentage below .400. The nine-time All-Star however is still considered to be one of the best hitters in the game by many. In total, Pujols has collected three MVP awards while hitting .328/.520/.617 with 445 home runs and 2073 hits throughout his career.