Contract reportedly for seven years

Updated: February 19, 2004, 3:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols have tentatively agreed to a seven-year contract for about $100 million, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the negotiations, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports.

Pujols is scheduled for a Friday arbitration hearing -- he was asking for a $10.5 million salary and the team offered $7 million -- but the deal is expected to be announced before then.

 Albert Pujols
Pujols

Brian Walton of thestlcardinals.com first reported that the two sides had a tentative deal Wednesday morning. A baseball official confirmed the report for ESPN.com.

A source also told The Associated Press that the deal is done, contingent on Pujols taking a physical.

An option for an eighth year could make the contract worth $111 million.

He made $950,000 last season when he finished second behind Barry Bonds in voting for the NL MVP award.

At 24, Pujols led the major leagues in hitting at .359 last year. He hit 43 home runs with 124 RBIs and topped the majors with 51 doubles. In three seasons, he's hitting .334 with 114 homers and 381 RBIs.

St. Louis made Pujols the ninth baseball player to receive a $100 million contract, the first since Jason Giambi's $120 million, seven-year agreement with the New York Yankees in December 2001.

Pujols has played only three full seasons, making him the quickest to receive a $100 million contract. Colorado's Todd Helton signed a $141.5 million, nine-year extension in March 2001 after three-plus seasons in the big leagues.

"He called me to give me the good news early in the morning," his aunt, Miriam Pujols, told the AP in the Dominican Republic.

Pujols gets $7 million this year, $11 million in 2005, $14 million in 2006, $15 million in 2007 and $16 million in each of the final three years. The Cardinals have a $16 million option for 2011 with a $5 million buyout.

St. Louis gets to defer $3 million a year from his 2007-10 salaries without interest, with Pujols getting $1.2 million a year during 2020-29.

Pujols played a lot in left field last season and also spent time at first base. He is likely to move to first base full-time this season after Tino Martinez was traded to Tampa Bay. The Cardinals open spring training Friday in Jupiter, Fla.

Last month, Pujols said he wanted a long-term contract from the Cardinals. Asked whether he would give the team a break in price, he said no.

"What do you mean?" Pujols said during the Cardinals' annual winter fanfest. "This is business. There's no break here.

"You try to get what you deserve and that's what I want. I've taken care of my business in the field the last three years and hopefully I get treated respectfully, that's all I ask for."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE