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Cardinals offered more than $200M over 9 years

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One offer to Albert Pujols before negotiations were halted -- perhaps even the main offer -- was for nine years and more than $200 million, according to people familiar with the talks.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak and owner Bill DeWitt said they made one main offer with multiple variations. IIndications are now that the main offer was for nine years, but variations of that offer were made, believed to be of different lengths.

Mozeliak and DeWitt have declined to discuss the specifics and would only say the offers were long and tried to leave financial room to keep an excellent team around him. So while the long-term offers approached $25 million a year, they probably didn't exceed it by much, if at all.

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SI Recommends was first to report Tuesday that the Cardinals offered as many as eight years when early speculation was the offers were no longer than seven years, based in part on the club's stated reluctance to repeat the 10-year deal Alex Rodriguez has with the Yankees for $275 million. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggested Thursday that a nine- and even 10-year offer was made.

Pujols is said to be seeking to top the A-Rod contract. Pujols halted negotiations Wednesday at noon when the sides failed to reach an agreement, but the superstar expressed his desire to be a 'Cardinal forever' upon reporting to camp Thursday.

Both sides want to reach a deal, but the current plan, based on Pujols' wishes, is not to resume talks until after the season. One of Pujols' prominent teammates said he believed a deal would get done after the season, and there seems to be a fair amount of good will on both sides, at least outwardly.

Pujols, considered the best player in the game, should draw substantial interest as a free agent, perhaps even from the rival Cubs.