St. Louis — Albert Pujols will sign autographs for $175 a pop today at the St. Louis Cardinals’ Winter Warmup. The team has until the start of spring training to get the three-time NL MVP to sign a new contract.
General manager John Mozeliak confirmed the deadline set by Pujols, but declined Saturday to characterize negotiations. The Cardinals exercised a $16 million option for next season on Pujols’ contract in October.
Both sides want to keep the negotiations private. Pujols’ two-hour autograph session, which will raise funds for Cardinal Care, is sold out.
“Really, we don’t want to sit here and handicap or guess or kind of give any type of gut feel where this thing is headed right now,” Mozeliak said. “Hopefully in the near future it’s something we can talk more about, but right now I’m not prepared to.”
Although Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt expressed confidence earlier this winter that the team could keep Pujols beyond 2011, Mozeliak said: “I don’t think it’s going to benefit anybody for me to weigh in at this point.”
The 30-year-old Pujols led the National League with 42 homers and 118 RBIs last season. He topped 400 career homers and set a franchise record with his 39th multihomer game.