As Albert Pujols’ self-imposed deadline for contract negotiations ended on Wednesday, a series of statements were released. First, agent Danny Lozano sent his comments to USA Today. Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak issued a press release and spoke with the media in Jupiter, Florida. In the evening, Lozano released a statement from Pujols himself, again first provided to USA Today. They follow.
Agent Dan Lozano’s statement
After engaging in discussions with the St. Louis Cardinals Organization, we have suspended further negotiations until after the conclusion of the 2011 season, due to today's self-imposed deadline. At the beginning of this process, Albert decided a timetable needed to be established in which we would negotiate. We exchanged proposals with the Cardinals during that time. While both parties were hopeful that an agreement could be reached, a difference of opinion in determining Albert's value simply could not be resolved. Albert's production over the last 10 years is nothing short of historic. He is not only the best player in baseball, and on his way to having a Hall of Fame career, but an iconic figure in sports. The expiration of today's deadline does not eliminate the possibility of Albert returning to the Cardinals in 2012, but simply delays negotiations until the conclusion of the Cardinals' season.
Albert's decision to suspend negotiations until after the season is made out of respect to his teammates, coaching staff and the Cardinals Organization. He wants to prevent this issue from becoming a distraction throughout the year. Albert cares a great deal about his teammates, manager Tony La Russa, and his coaching staff and respects their ability to prepare each and every day. Albert has also decided that he will not discuss his contract status for the duration of the season, including Spring Training. He asks the media to please respect this request. Albert would also like to reassure the Cardinals Nation that he is determined to bring a World Championship back to the city of St. Louis. He feels as strongly as ever that this team has the potential to win the World Series. That alone is why he will not permit his contractual situation to become a distraction or take away from his ability to reach that goal.
Chairman Bill DeWitt’s comments
While we are disappointed that we did not reach an agreement, we remain hopeful that Albert will finish his career in St. Louis. Albert has been playing baseball at the highest level for the Cardinals these past ten years, providing us with countless great memories. We look forward to many more in 2011 and hopefully beyond. We are looking forward to this upcoming season and feel great about the team we have assembled. We respect Albert's decision to focus entirely on preparing for the 2011 season. We will honor his wishes and not discuss this matter until the completion of the season.
Cardinals, Pujols can't agree
Albert Pujols' statement (released by Lozano)
First of all, I'd like to congratulate "The Man" Stan Musial, on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is a person that I have come to know and deeply admire and respect.
After spending the last few weeks working toward an extension, we've suspended our conversations with the Cardinals, due to this morning's self-imposed deadline. Once the 2011 season is over, we hope to revisit those talks. My agent, Dan Lozano and I have been on the same page throughout this entire process, and we strongly feel this is the best course of action. I have made it very clear that I do not want any of this to be a distraction during the season, and it was for that reason, that we came up with a deadline. I hope that the media are respectful toward my family, my teammates, coaches and the Cardinals Organization in honoring this request. I have the utmost respect for Mr. DeWitt, Mo and the rest of the Cardinals Organization, and the path that these negotiations have taken, will not impact our relationship moving forward in any way.
I also would like to take this opportunity to reassure the Cardinal Nation, that my effort both on and off the field will never change. I am devoted to giving 100 percent on the field, every single day, just as I have done the last 10 years. We're all working together toward a common goal and that is to win a World Championship for the City of St. Louis. The last thing anyone in this clubhouse needs to worry about, is what's going to happen to me after the season. Let's focus on winning in 2011 and prepare each day to accomplish our goals as a team. I'm feeling strong, healthy and excited to be at Spring Training in what I hope to be the start of a World Championship season. I can't wait to get started and God bless.