It appears as though the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins are the only two teams remaining in the pursuit of free agent first baseman Albert Pujols, after Miami reportedly offered the best player in baseball a ten year deal in excess of $200 million.
While such a staggering figure, one that would guarantee Pujols the third largest contract in baseball history, is certainly intimidating, the Cardinals “remain hopeful” of re-signing their first baseman for the last eleven seasons and have even shown a willingness to also offer a ten year deal.
They may have to be prepared to move quickly on such an offer if they’re going to turn the hope that they speak of into reality. According to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, the Marlins will press to complete their dealings with Pujols today or tomorrow so that they can move on with other potential signings. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains that the Cardinals don’t expect to get an opportunity to counter another offer from Miami.
However, one potential hangup on the Marlins’ offer to Pujols appears to be the team’s unwillingness to include a no-trade clause in any free agent contract. It’s believed that Pujols wants this contract to be the last one he signs and therefore he’d something in it that restricts his movement over the first five years of the deal, at which point he will regain the ten-and-five rights that give no trade clauses to players who have been in the league for ten years, the last five of which with one team.
The most recent news has Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria in recent contact with the Commissioner’s Office. Loria claims that the discussion had nothing to do with Pujols, though.
Either way, I’m starting to believe that a resolution as to where Albert Pujols will be playing baseball next season will be happening before the end of the Winter Meetings.