Cardinals don’t plan on increasing offer to Albert Pujols

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The Cardinals reportedly made a nine-year, $210 million contract offer to first baseman Albert Pujols before the start of the 2011 season. That amounts to a $23.3 million annual salary, which is less than Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia will make in 2012 and beyond.

Aware that his client has been more productive than all of the names above, agent Dan Lozano declined that proposal and steered Albert’s eyes toward the free agent market. And that’s where we stand today.

Pujols, already considered one of the greatest hitters of all time and undoubtedly more feared than A-Rod or Howard, is free to sign with any team he chooses.

But will he enough suitors to land the kind of deal he wants? Perhaps not.

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Cardinals don’t plan on sweetening the offer they made in the spring unless forced to by a competing bid. And that competing bid, so far, hasn’t arrived.

The Marlins met with Pujols in Miami this weekend and even made an offer, but Joe Frisaro of MLB.com was told that the number “probably isn’t close enough” to lure Albert away from St. Louis.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.