08:27 AM ET 02.14 | As of Sunday night, Albert Pujols had reportedly turned down a contract proposal from the Cardinals, possibly triggering the Pujols-imposed cease in negotiations with St. Louis. The Cardinals may indeed be more comfortable allowing other clubs to help sculpt Pujols' market within free agency rather than to negotiate in a vacuum. A source familiar with Pujols described the 10-year-veteran as "at peace" with the situation. ... Tony La Russa, breaking a virtual cone of silence that has surrounded the issue, acknowledged unresolved negotiations with Pujols could become a "spectacular distraction potentially," but hastened that "we won't allow it to be." He instead called it a 'spectacular excuse" should the club underachieve this season.