Albert Pujols sets spring training deadline for contract talks

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That’s the sobering news from the team’s annual Winter Warm-Up event this afternoon.

According to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed that Albert Pujols and his agent Don Lozano will not negotiate a contract extension once spring training begins. It’s not clear if this has been the deadline all along, but some have speculated that the deadline would be the start of the season. Not so.

Consistent with an agreement to keep negotiations confidential, Mozeliak declined to go into any specifics, but he did say that the two sides continue to talk.

“We don’t want to sit here and handicap or guess or kind of give any type of gut feels as to where this thing is headed right now,” Mozeliak said. “In respect to that, that’s all I can really add to the topic at this time. Hopefully in the near future it’s something we can talk more about it.”

“I don’t think it would benefit anybody for me to weigh in at this point.”

By the way, as Rains notes, position players are scheduled to report to the team’s spring training complex in Jupiter on February 18. Ticktock, ticktock…

The Yankees reportedly tried to get Jean Segura from Seattle too

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Last night’s big news — the Yankees acquiring James Paxton from the Mariners — might’ve been even bigger if the Yankees had gotten their way: they were trying to land shortstop Jean Segura too. That’s the report from Jon Morosi of MLB Network, anyway.

Getting Segura would make a ton of sense for the Yankees given that Didi Gregorius is going to miss a big chunk of next season. Segura, who will turn 29 in March, has hit .308/.353/.449 over the past three seasons. He’d cost some prospects, but he wouldn’t cost the kind of money another possible option — signing Manny Machado — might cost.

Worth watching the Yankees regarding any available shortstop, obviously.