DALLAS – Albert Pujols, the three-time National League MVP, agreed Thursday to a $254 million, 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, leaving the St. Louis Cardinals after more than a decade for a new baseball life in southern California.

Pujols’ contract, which is subject to a physical, is the second-highest in baseball history and only the third to break $200 million, 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,” said the owner, Arte Moreno.

In addition to the Pujols signing, the Angels agreed to a five-year contract with left-hander C.J. Wilson, a deal worth $77.5 million that raised their spending for the day to $331.5 million.

Pujols had spent all 11 of his major league seasons with the Cardinals, hitting .338 with 445 home runs and 1,329 RBI to become a franchise icon second only to Stan Musial. He is fourth in career slugging percentage at .617, trailing only Hall of Famers Babe Ruth (.690), Ted Williams (.634) and Lou Gehrig (.632).

Pujols’ numbers in nearly every major offensive category are on a three-year decline. He had his poorest season in 2011 and at 31 is likely to spend most of his Angels career at designated hitter rather than first base.

“We understand that players will go through peaks and valleys of sort,” Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. “Albert has spent many years operating at peak, and if we want to call a decline going from superhuman to just great, I don’t think we’ve seen the last great days of Albert Pujols, obviously, or we wouldn’t be sitting here today.”

Some have speculated he’s older than his listed age.

“Albert Pujols’ age to me is not a concern,” Dipoto said. “I’m not a scientist. I can’t (say) where he is, but I can tell you he hits like he’s 27.”

St. Louis also offered a 10-year deal.

“We are disappointed,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said.

“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 led the Cardinals to a seven-game World Series victory over Wilson’s Rangers, his second title with the team in the last six seasons. He also had been pursued by the Miami Marlins, but they dropped out Wednesday. The Angels and Marlins committed $522.5 million to just five free agents.

“I think baseball needs to have a steroid-testing policy for owners,” said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economics professor at Smith College.

Wilson a 31-year-old left-hander, was 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA with Texas last season,.

He went 31-15 with a 3.14 ERA over 67 starts in the past two regular seasons, making a smooth transition from the bullpen. He pitched exclusively in relief from 2006-09.

But he struggled in big games this year, probably costing himself millions in a possible contract.

Wilson was winless in this year’s postseason. He became the first pitcher in the same season to have a loss in the division series, championship series and World Series. He also was the losing pitcher in the All-Star game — the defeat cost the Rangers home-field advantage in the World Series, and they lost Game 7 at St. Louis.

RED SOX: Designated hitter David Ortiz, 36, is staying with the team, agreeing to an offer of salary arbitration.

Ortiz, who has been with Boston since 2003, hit .309 last season with 29 homers and 96 RBI, making $12.65 million in the option year of a contract that paid him $63.225 million over five seasons.

Barring an agreement, Ortiz and the Red Sox would swap proposed salaries Jan. 17 for a one-year, nonguaranteed contract and the case would go to a hearing the following month. The overwhelming majority of players and teams reach agreement before cases are heard by three-arbitrator panels.

Also, the commissioner’s office said Ortiz was voted designated hitter of the year for the sixth time, following a streak from 2003-07.

JAPANESE PITCHER Yu Darvish ended months of speculation by saying he intends to make a move to the majors.

Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA this season for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. He had 276 strikeouts to lead the Pacific League.

The New York Yankees are one of several teams said to be interested in Darvish, who is expected to be a top-of-the-rotation starter.

BREWERS: Milwaukee agreed to terms with free-agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez, filling one of its biggest offseason needs.

Gonzalez, 34, played 149 games for Atlanta last season, hitting .241 with 15 home runs and 56 RBI. He committed 12 errors.

DODGERS: Right-hander Aaron Harang, 33, agreed to a $12 million, two-year contract, filling out the team’s projected rotation.

Harang joins a rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano, who signed a $10 million, two-year deal last week.