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Reports: Cardinals offered Pujols $21 million a season -- or less

The deal the Cardinals offered Albert Pujols likely would have made him the fourth-highest-paid FIRST BASEMAN in the majors in 2012, according to a report from Fox sports.

He would have been about 10th overall.

Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the best offer St. Louis made to Pujols, regarded by many as the best player in baseball, was for between $19-$21 million a season. That's less than Mark Teixeira of the Yankees, Ryan Howard of the Phillies and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers right now. And it could very well be less than what Adrian Gonzalez gets from the Red Sox when pen is put to paper sometime this season.

"It's a process we have no control over," Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. told the Washington Post about Pujols' impending free agency. "If he chooses to go elsewhere, that's his decision. Players are mobile in this generation."

I wonder if DeWitt even believes that statement himself. It's as arrogant as it is ignorant. Of course the Cardinals could have a say where Pujols plays -- they were willing to make a legitimate and justifiable offer.

Did they really think the best player in baseball was going to take $4-$6 million per year less than Howard?

Although he signed it and honored the deal without complaint, Pujols was vastly underpaid by major league standards for at least the last five years. More than $10 million per season by the most conservative of standards. So the Cardinals can't really expect him to take another discount deal. At some point you have to pay the piper.

The team obviously DOESN'T want to keep Pujols -- unless he comes at a huge discount. Either DeWitt thinks Pujols is really significantly older than Albert says he is... Or else he is content in the fact that he got baseball's best player at highway robbery prices for the last five or six years and he doesn't want to pay the true cost of freight for the back nine of Pujols' career.

I feel like a moron that I stayed up until 1 p.m. last night scouring the internet for news of an 11th hour Pujols signing. Not to mention that I have had butterflies in my stomach for the last month as I wondered if things could be worked out.

Things never had a chance to work out. It was all just a childish game and a bunch of lies. The Cardinals ownership is not only screwing up its chance to hold on to the best player in baseball for his whole career. Its being more than petty enough to give him all the motivation he needs to swallow hard and defect to the Cubs.