ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals made their most obvious move of the offseason their first move of the offseason -- exercising the 2011 option on three-time MVP Albert Pujols' contract.
The club officially announced the move Wednesday afternoon.
Pujols is again vying for the MVP award this season after hitting .312 and leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 RBIs. He is the first Cardinal to lead two of the league's Triple Crown categories since Mark McGwire did it in 1999.
By exercising the $16-million option on Pujols' contract, the Cardinals set the stage for the planned negotiations on an extension.
The Cardinals also officially announced the lefty Trever Miller will return to the team for 2011. His option vested with his 45th appearance this past season, and it was cemented when he finished the season healthy.