Everybody into the Pool-hols!

Lots of hot and heavy Albert Pujols talk today, as the true market for the vaunted slugger becomes clear as the Cubs, Marlins, and Cardinals emerge as finalists in the Pujols Sweepstakes.

The Marlins offered and tweaked a 10-year deal with full no-trade protection, says nearly everyone associated with the situation. Scott Miller of CBS Sports suggests the Marlins and Pujols’ representation met twice on Cardinals, though they refuse to acknowledge they’re actually a couple but simply good friends.

Joe Strauss of the only fishwrap in St. Louis indicates the Cubs moved on Pujols, tabling a “qualifying bid” that would see the famous slugger remain on the Baby Bear’s payroll well past his 50th birthday. Strauss goes on to mention the Cardinals are not married to the nine-year extension handed to Pujols back in February. The Cards seem to recognize the structure of their previous offer needs re-jigging and are not about to be left in the dust.

Although, it looks like they might just be left in the dust. As some guy (this guy?) reports the deal is done and Albert Pujols will join the Marlins on a ten-year deal. With all due respect to intrepid reporter David Villavicencio, let’s hold onto our hats for a few more minutes until more details emerge.

Update! Ken Rosenthal tweets the Pujols and Marlins camps are working through the no-trade aspects of any potential deal. Meanwhile, Rosenthal’s Fox colleague Jon Morosi suggests Pujols is still in talks with the Cardinals! Smoke versus fire!