UPDATE: Pujols’ camp calls reported offer “inaccurate, reckless and outrageous”

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UPDATE: Oh boy. A source close to the Pujols’ camp tells Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports that tonight’s report of an eight-year offer from the Cardinals is “inaccurate, reckless and outrageous.”

Ouch. Sounds a bit angry. Looks like that whole “negotiating behind closed doors” thing is officially out the window.

7:59 PM: Tick-tock, tick-tock…

It’s getting close to crunch time.

Albert Pujols plans to cut off all talks regarding a contract extension at noon eastern time tomorrow, but the Cardinals are still trying to hammer out a last-minute deal.

Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Cards have offered Pujols an eight-year contract. The juicy details aren’t yet known, but Heyman hears that it was for less than $30 million per season — or $240 million in total. Meanwhile, Pujols is reportedly seeking a 10-year deal, possibly in the range of $300 million. Heyman reports that there remains “little hope” for an agreement before Wednesday’s deadline.

One of the more interesting wrinkles of this story is that the Pujols’ camp asked for a piece of the team at one point in negotiations. Former commissioner Fay Vincent has raised this possibility in the past and while it’s technically possible, it would require a complicated agreement and approval from the player’s union. The Cardinals declined due to the potential complications involved.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.

Report: Cardinals, Yadier Molina making “major progress” on contract extension

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.

Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.

Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.