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On this date in Cardinals history: Feb. 4, 2004

What a nice day today would be for the Cardinals to announce that they have signed Albert Pujols to an extension.

It was on this date in 2004 that the team announced that it had inked the fourth-year player to a seven-year, $100-million contract that at the time was the richest in club history. The deal includes an option for an eighth year at $16 million which is what Pujols will play under next season.

In his first three seasons in the majors, Pujols was a .334 hitter who averaged 38 homers and 127 RBIs a season. Since he inked the contract, Pujols is a .330 hitter with 294 homers (an average of 42 a season) and 849 RBIs (121 a season.)

Two weeks from today marks the Feb. 18 reporting date to spring training that Pujols has set as the deadline to have a contract in place or to break off negotiations and head to free agency. It's hard to believe if the player and the club don't start making some significant progress soon that a deal will be worked out in time.

After initial reports that things were "positive" rumors have surfaced that the sides are more than $100 million apart with Pujols asking for a 10-year, $300-million deal and the Redbirds trying to convince him to take a contract for a maximum of seven years and a total value of less than $200 million.

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