Jupiter, FL (Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals and slugger Albert Pujols have come to terms on a seven-year contract that also includes a club option for an eighth season. The deal will reportedly pay the two-time All- Star $100 million and avoids an arbitration hearing, which was scheduled for Friday.
Pujols had been seeking a raise from $950,000 to $10.5 million, with the team countering at $7 million. Those figures are out the window now with the new contract that will reportedly pay the 2001 National League Rookie of the Year in deferments until 2029.
According to a report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Pujols will be paid $7 million this season, $11 million in 2005, $14 million in 2006, $15 million in 2007 and $16 million each year from 2008-10. The option for 2011 would be worth $16 million.
The 24-year-old Pujols topped all major leaguers with a .359 batting average, had 43 homers and 124 RBI last season and finished second in the NL MVP balloting behind Barry Bonds. It marked the second consecutive season he finished second in the MVP voting.
"This deal not only recognizes Albert for his accomplishments over the past three seasons," said Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager Walt Jocketty, "but all along, we felt that it was important to retain a player such as Albert who came up through our farm system, and see to it that he remained a part of the club's nucleus well into the future."
Pujols was in contention for the Triple Crown until late September. In 2003, Pujols established career-bests in several offensive categories and led the NL in runs scored (137), hits (212), and doubles (51). He became the youngest to win an NL batting title since the Dodgers' Tommy Davis in 1962. Pujols also became the only player in Major League Baseball history to hit .300, hit 30 home runs, score 100 runs and drive in 100 runs in each of his first three seasons.
"We are extremely pleased to have reached a long-term agreement with Albert," Cardinals Chairman William DeWitt, Jr. said. "His accomplishments in his first three seasons are unmatched in the history of the game. Having reached this agreement, the Cardinals and their fans can now rest assured that Albert Pujols will serve as a cornerstone for the Cardinals franchise for many years to come."
In 2001, Pujols hit .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBI in 161 games. The following year he hit .314 with 34 homers and 127 RBI.
Pujols has primarily played left field for the Cardinals, but has also spent parts of 126 games at first base in his career with the team.