Cards lose Pujols to Angels’ high bid
Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2011 7:01 pm
By RONALD BLUM
AP Sports Writer
DALLAS (AP) — Three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols has agreed to a 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels worth about $250 million to $260 million, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced.
Pujols led the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title this fall — his second with the team. He had been pursued by the Miami Marlins, but they dropped out Wednesday after agreeing to a deal with Mark Buehrle.
The Cardinals exercised a $16 million option on Pujols’ contract after last season. The slugger rejected a multiyear extension that included a small percentage of the franchise over the winter and cut off negotiations on the first day of spring training.
Pujols’ numbers in nearly every major offensive category are on a three-year decline, but he remains among the game’s elite players. He hit 37 home runs last season, running his 30-homer streak to 11 years, and batted .299 with 99 RBIs. He led the Cardinals’ improbable late-season surge and became only the third player to hit three home runs in a World Series game.
Yahoo Sports first reported the Pujols deal.
“For 2012, two wildscards and no Albert Pujols. I’m happy,” said Sandy Alderson, general manager of the Cardinals’ NL rival New York Mets.
Meanwhile, Mark Bueh-rle joined Heath Bell and Jose Reyes in baseball’s Miami migration as the Marlins got tired of waiting for Pujols and pulled their offer.
Dominating the market under art dealer-owner Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins increased their spending spree to $191 million in less than a week, agreeing Wednesday to a $58 million, four-year contract with Buehrle just hours after completing a deal with All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes.
“Now how about three more?” new manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Hey, you shoot for the moon, just in case.”
Quite a turnabout for a team that had the major leagues’ lowest payroll in 2006.
“The minnows have become Marlins,” agent Scott Boras said.
With Pujols unwilling to accept their $200 million-plus proposal, the Marlins turned their attention to pitching in an effort to get off to a quick start in April at their $515 million, retractable-roof stadium.
Marlins president David Samson said the team had withdrawn its offer to Pujols. And while the first baseman still had not announced a decision, there were other moves on the third day of the four-day session.
Colorado traded closer Huston Street to San Diego for a player to be named and cash, Minnesota finalized a $4.75 million deal with closer Matt Capps and Pittsburgh completed agreements with left-hander Eric Bedard ($4.5 million) and outfielder Nate McLouth ($1.75 million). The Pirates also acquired infielder Yamaico Navarro from the Kansas City Royals for a pair of minor leaguers.
San Francisco finalized a trade to obtain outfielder Angel Pagan and a player to be named or cash from the New York Mets for outfielder Andres Torres and right-hander Ramon Ramirez.
The New York Yankees, unusually quiet at the annual gathering, won negotiating rights to shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima of the Seibu Lions in Japan’s Pacific League. If they sign him within 30 days, they would pay the Lions a posting fee of $2.5 million.
In the evening, three free agents returned to their former clubs by accepting the salary arbitration offers made last month: Boston designated hitter David Ortiz, Milwaukee reliever Francisco Rodriguez and Toronto second baseman Kelly Johnson. And just before midnight, the Houston Astros hired Jeff Luhnow as general manager. Luhnow, who had been the Cardinals’ vice president of scouting and player development, is the seventh new GM in the majors since the end of the season.
Texas general manager Jon Daniels sounded resigned to losing ace C.J. Wilson, another pitcher Miami had pursued.
“I haven’t received a call to say he’s chosen to go elsewhere, but we’re prepared for that call,” Daniels said.
After winning the 2003 World Series and then dismantling the roster because of a lack of revenue, Loria is collecting free agents like old masterpieces, trying to build a Miami machine with the funds provided by the new stadium and an expected boost in attendance.
Guillen and Buehrle were together on the Chicago White Sox this season, when the 32-year-old left-hander went 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA and won his third straight Gold Glove.
“This kid is special,” Guillen said. “He pitched in the big scenarios, big moments, very tough city to pitch. When people love you in Chicago that means something.”
Buehrle’s deal is subject to a physical, which the sides were arranging.
Reyes, a four-time All-Star, finalized a $106 million, six-year contract, two days after Bell completed a $27 million, three-year deal. Wanting to get started with talks right away, Loria and Marlins officials met Reyes and his agent just past midnight on Nov. 3, the start of the signing period, at a table outside Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle hotel in New York.
Published in The Messenger 12.8.11