ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Multiple reports out of Dallas, Texas from the Baseball Winter Meetings indicate that the Miami Marlins are no longer in contention to sign free agent Albert Pujols. While some are reporting that after they agreed to a deal with St. Louis native Mark Buehrle, the Marlins moved forward, but some report agent Dan Lozano told the Miami franchise that they are no longer being considered by Pujols.
While learning the Miami Marlins are no longer involved in the Pujols negotiations may lead some to assume the Cardinals are now the clear-cut favorite, that is not true just yet. Bob Nightengale of USA Today, who has been right on just about everything regarding Pujols and Lozano, confirms a report from Jerry Cransick of ESPN and Baseball America that there are still three total franchises (that could include the Cardinals) with offers in excess of $200 million. Some reporters, including Nightengale and Cransick, tweet that the Cardinals have to be the favorite to re-sign Albert Pujols, but that is only speculation.
Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the Cardinals were reported to have made a 10-year, $220 million offer, but those facts may not be valid. No specifics have ever been released, but some are reporting that the Cardinals only made an offer for nine years, and not ten. Finding out the truth will just have to wait probably until a final decision is made.
The facts are also not clear on what transpired with the Marlins, except they did agree with pitcher Mark Buehrle to a 4-year, $58 million deal. Whether they made their own decision to bow out or if agent Dan Lozano did inform them that there was no longer any interest from his client, the Marlins sure did shake up negotiations with Pujols.
The Marlins’ aggressive strategy did not work, but may have altered the market enough to where the Cardinals were forced to up their offer. Time will only tell how the competing franchises did affect the Pujols market.
The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels were also reported franchises discussing Pujols, but neither has made any recent news.
Finally, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak was not scheduled to hold his evening press briefing according to Matthew Leach of MLB.com. Leach says it best about Mozeliak when he tweeted: “Make of that what you will.”
Reports are beginning surface that the Miami Marlins are moving forward without Albert Pujols, and the Cardinals are now the favorite to re-sign the three-time NL MVP. The Cardinals reportedly made a similar offer to the Marlins making them the favorite, but there are conflicting reports whether the Marlins are officially done pursuing Pujols.
MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman tweets that the Marlins are now going after first baseman Prince Fielder. Heyman explains that the Marlins would have liked to have Pujols in Miami for marketing reasons, but love Fielder’s upside regarding production since he is four years younger.
While there was reaction to hearing the Marlins may be out of the bidding, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that the Marlins have not given up on Pujols. Nightengale, who was a guest on The Sports Hub on Tuesday night, indicates the Marlins still have a plan.
The Cardinals are reportedly still meeting with the Pujols group. No new reports have indicated whether they are close to reaching an agreement.
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