Sources: Albert Pujols to report Feb. 16

Updated: February 11, 2011, 11:37 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Albert Pujols is expected to report to spring training on Feb. 16, making that the deadline for his contract negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals, sources told ESPN.

Pujols and the Cardinals had been negotiating under the player's original deadline of Feb. 19, the first day he was scheduled to arrive in training camp. After he begins spring training, Pujols does not want his agent, Dan Lozano, to discuss a contract with the Cardinals because he doesn't want to have any distractions, a stance he has taken throughout his career.

The understanding within the St. Louis front office is that Pujols will not accept any trade going forward, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney on Jan. 29. He has the right to veto any trade proposal, and would do so.

This means there are only two possible results in the negotiations in the Pujols talks: Either he signs a contract extension with the Cardinals, or he will become a free agent this coming fall.

What happens after that remains to be seen, but the choices facing the Cardinals are expensive in different ways. Either St. Louis will negotiate a deal along the lines what Pujols has asked for -- probably something in the neighborhood of the 10-year, $275 million deal that Alex Rodriguez signed with the Yankees in fall 2007 -- or the Cardinals will pay for the backlash after Pujols walks away.

The Cardinals would receive two picks in the 2012 amateur draft if Pujols signs with another team this offseason.

Pujols led the National League with 42 homers last season and won his first league RBI title with 118. He also tied Matt Holliday for the team batting lead at .312.

The three-time NL MVP, who turned 31 on Sunday, has played his entire 10-year career in St. Louis.

Pujols noted last month that speculation regarding his future, and whether the Cardinals are willing to pay top dollar for the three-time NL MVP, has been swirling for several years. The Cardinals have four other players making more than $10 million a year in outfielder Holliday and pitchers Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse.

Pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 13 with the first workout the following day.

Information from ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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