The Angels, perhaps sensing they are about to lose free-agent pitcher C.J. Wilson to the Miami Marlins, jumped head-first into the bidding for slugger Albert Pujols on Wednesday night, according to two people who are familiar with negotiations but not authorized to speak about them publicly.
It appeared Pujols would be headed back to the St. Louis Cardinals after the Marlins reportedly pulled their offer, believed to be for 10 years and more than $200 million, off the table earlier Wednesday. The Cardinals are believed to have offered Pujols a nine- or 10-year deal for at least $200 million.
The Chicago Cubs are believed to be the only other team in negotiations with Dan Lozano, Pujols' agent, but it was unclear Wednesday night how aggressively they were pursuing Pujols.
Pujols, 31, has played his entire career in St. Louis, putting together a Hall of Fame resume that includes a .328 average, .420 on-base percentage, 445 home runs and 1,329 runs batted in, and his bat would provide a significant boost to an Angels lineup that ranked 10th in the American League with 667 runs last season.
Asked earlier Wednesday about Pujols, Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said, "We're trying to improve our club in a variety of different ways ... but that's not necessarily where our focus is." But Dipoto also said he would not limit his efforts to upgrade the team to pitching.
"We'll continue to have parrallel talks, and that's not solely limited to a starting pitcher," Dipoto said. "You have to have the ability to break off and move in a different direction."