ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — On the first day of the Baseball Winter Meetings where most franchises and agents are hoping to strike deals, the market is being discussed, specifically Albert Pujols. Before the Cardinals had their meeting with agent Dan Lozano, the Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs also took some time to discuss the three-time NL MVP.
Sunday night, the Marlins made their second splash in the free agent market by inking shortstop Jose Reyes only three days after obtaining closer Heath Bell. Miami, probably along with Lozano’s group, want everyone to know they are still in pursuit of the Albert Pujols. Bob Nightengale of USA Today examines what the Marlins are doing to the Pujols market. A frequent guest on KMOX sports programming, Nightengale also spoke with Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt who remains calm on the issue.
The Chicago Cubs, now led by new President Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, made their expected appearance in the Pujols sweepstakes last week. However, the North side of Chicago looks to be one of the more less desirable places for a player like to Pujols to land since that franchise could be many seasons away from being a contender. The idea behind the Cubs’ negotiations with Lozano looks to be a move to help obtain Prince Fielder. Plus, if the Cubs can also drive up the price on Pujols, the long time rivals will not hesitate.
Cardinals management would like to wrap up a deal with Pujols by the end of the Winter Meetings, but are also prepared to negotiate throughout the holiday season and beyond to retain what Bill Dewitt calls an irreplaceable player.
Reports on Sunday night indicate that meetings between Albert Pujols’ agent and bidding franchises, including the St. Louis Cardinals, will restart negotiations on Monday at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas. The Miami Marlins, the only other franchise to reportedly make an offer for Pujols besides the Cardinals, are also expected to have meetings with agent Dan Lozano as early as Tuesday.
The time of the meeting between the Cardinals and Lozano that is supposed to occur on Monday is not known. Franchise management including Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and General Manager John Mozeliak arrived in Dallas on Sunday.
Following the news of free agent Jose Reyes and the Miami Marlins making an agreement for six years worth possibly as much as $120 million, ESPN began reporting that the Marlins are now targeting Albert Pujols. The Marlins signed Reyes only three days after the suddenly aggressive organization signed All-Star closer Heath Bell to a 3-year, $27 million deal.
Reyes, the NL batting champion last season with the New York Mets, was considered to be one of the top free agents available along with Pujols and Prince Fielder. Along with obtaining Reyes, Bell, plus now going after Pujols, the Marlins are also thought to have interest in two of the top pitchers available on the market, lefties Mark Buehrle and C. J. Wilson.
A month ago, the Marlins hosted Albert Pujols and his agent when they unveiled their new name, logo and, uniforms. That was also when Miami reportedly made their offer. Rumors flew around that they were offering more than $200 million, yet there has been additional speculation claiming the Marlins’ offer was much less than what the Cardinals offered last February. That offer from St. Louis was thought to be a 9-year, $198 million deal.
Agent Dan Lozano’s group also arrived on Sunday. They were actually in St. Louis over the weekend to attend an annual event that was thrown on Saturday by The Pujols Family Foundation. Albert Pujols did not travel to Dallas with his agent’s group, but could make the trip if necessary.
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