Even if the talks were to fall apart, the three-time National League Most Valuable Player would not be traded, ESPN reported on Saturday. Pujols can veto any trade because he's spent 10 years in the same league and five with the same club, and he reportedly won't waive that right for anyone.
Neither the Cardinals nor Pujols' camp have commented on the report.
Other clubs have inquired about Pujols in the past, but the Cardinals never pursued those talks, according to the report. It's unclear if they would do so now if Pujols was open to playing elsewhere.
Pujols and his agent, Dan Lozano, have set Feb. 19, the day the first baseman reports to Spring Training, as the deadline to work out a deal. Beyond that, Pujols has said he wants no distractions during the season.
According to ESPN, a 10-year, $275 million deal similar to Alex Rodriguez's most recent contract with the Yankees could be what Pujols seeks.
Pujols' numbers are truly staggering: 42 home runs, 118 RBIs, a .414 on-base percentage and .312 average in 159 games last season, combined with the consistency of at least 32 home runs in each of his 10 big league seasons. The slugger turned 31 earlier in January.