The Los Angeles Angels just landed superstar first basemen Albert Pujols in a massive 10-year contract on Thursday (December 8), worth a reported a $254 million.
According to ESPN, Pujols' contract -- which is subject to a physical -- is the second-highest in baseball history and only the third to break the $200 million barrier, following Alex Rodriguez's $252 million, 10-year deal with Texas before the 2001 season and A-Rod's $275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees before the 2008 season.
"This is a monumental day for Angel fans and I could not be more excited," owner Arte Moreno said in a statement.
Pujols has played with the St. Louis Cardinals since 2001, after being brought up to AAA and made an impact.
He turned down an offer from the Cards a year ago, but apparently, St. Louis was still in the bidding as of Wednesday ... until he finally shocked fans with his move to L.A. who wasn't even in the running a day earlier.
A source said the Cards' latest offer was nine years and a little less than $200 million. That would have made him the fourth-highest paid first baseman, but the Angels deal made him the tops.
The team's CEO said they were disappointed.
"We are disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement to keep Albert Pujols in St. Louis," Cardinals chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement. "Albert is a great champion and we will always be thankful for his many achievements in a Cardinals uniform, as well as his contributions to the St. Louis community. I have the highest regard for Albert both personally and professionally, and appreciate his direct involvement in this process. I would like our fans to know that we tried our best to make Albert a lifetime Cardinal but unfortunately we were unable to make it happen."
Pujols' deal with the Angles includes a full no-trade clause, which he had been seeking and may have been a sticking point in his negotiations with the Miami Marlins.
Pujols is a three-time MVP who batted .299 with 37 homers and 99 RBIs in 2011, the only season in his 11-year career that he didn't have 100 RBIs or hit better than .300. But the 31-year-old was battling an arm injury.
In 2001, he won the Rookie of the Year award in 2001; and has a lifetime .328 batting average and has hit 445 home runs.
Through his 11 years with the Cardinals, Pujols had become a franchise icon. He is fourth in career slugging percentage at .617, trailing only Hall of Famers Babe Ruth (.690), Ted Williams (.634) and Lou Gehrig (.632). But he had his poorest season in 2011 and at 31 is likely to spend the majority of his career with the Angels at designated hitter rather than first base.