Albert Pujols was offered salary arbitration by the St. Louis Cardinals, putting the team in line to get two extra draft picks if the star first baseman signs with another team.
The World Series champions also offered arbitration to right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson and declined arbitration to shortstop Rafael Furcal and lefty Arthur Rhodes.
The Cardinals made the announcements before Wednesday’s deadline.
Pujols, one of only a handful of Type A free agents, has played all of his 11 major league seasons with St. Louis, hitting 445 home runs and batting .328 while winning the National League MVP three times.
His impending free agent status was an ongoing storyline before the season, then again as the Cardinals caught fire to win their second World Series title in six years.