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UPDATE: No mystery: It’s just the Marlins and Cardinals for Albert Pujols

Dec 7, 2011, 12:48 AM EDT

pujols getty Getty Images

12:57 AM: Jon Heyman chimes in, tweeting that “a good number of executives still seem to think Marlins will win Pujols derby.” The Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi was told that the Marlins are “very confident” they will land the three-time MVP.

12:48 AM: ESPN’s Jim Bowden and the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi are among those reporting that it’s strictly down to the Marlins and Cardinals. Capozzi reports that the Marlins have not set a deadline for Pujols to accept their offer, but that Pujols may make a decision before sunrise anyway.

11:47 PM: Our own Drew Silva brings word that Bob Nightengale of USA Today was just a guest on KMOX in St. Louis and said that the Angels are NOT the mystery team for Pujols. Neither are the Rangers or the Giants, by the way.

We may also have to eliminate the Cubs from the equation, as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe hears that they are “definitely not in.”

11:43 PM: Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com talked to two Angels’ executives who “seemed shocked” that they were being mentioned as the mystery team for Pujols. Meanwhile, Scott Miller of CBSSports.com is “highly skeptical” that the Angels are the third team in the mix.

And finally, courtesy of Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, here’s a picture of some Marlins’ writers staking out Jeffrey Loria at a shoeshine stand. It’s that kind of night.

10:58 PM: Sorry to spoil the party, everyone, but these talks may drag on into tomorrow. Joe Frisaro of MLB.com hears that while the Marlins would like a resolution, it’s unlikely to happen tonight.

By the way, we have a new horse in the race. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports the Angels are pursuing Pujols and are having “ongoing conversations.”

10:14 PM: Joel Sherman of the New York Post was told by a “person involved” in talks that the Cubs are “definitely in” on Albert Pujols. It’s not clear whether they have improved their offer (or are the “mystery team” mentioned by Bob Nightengale earlier) but Sherman was told that they at least want to “make life miserable” by bidding against their division-rivals.

9:22 PM: The Marlins just emerged from their meeting with Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Marlins president David Samson said there’s “nothing to report.”

9:11 PM: Strap in, everyone. We could be nearing the end-game. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hears that the Marlins expect a resolution on their bid for Pujols — one way or the other — by the end of the night.

8:47 PM: C’mon, you knew a mystery team would get involved sooner or later. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Albert Pujols has received three 10-year contract proposals exceeding $200 million. We already know the Cardinals and Marlins are in the mix, but it appears a third unidentified team has joined the bidding.

Nightengale hears that the Cubs have made an offer, but it’s for less than 10 years. Let your imagination run wild.

8:33 PM: Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post was told by a source that the Marlins and Albert Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, have been together in a meeting for the past half-hour.

7:48 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com was told by sources that the Marlins met with Dan Halem of the commissioner’s office earlier this evening to discuss matters relating to a possible contract for Albert Pujols.

This is potentially very significant, as Andy Martino of the New York Daily News notes that he is Rob Manfred’s No. 2 in charge of approving contracts. No word on the exact nature of the meeting, but Miami’s proposed contract could potentially include deferred money.

7:14 PM ET: We could be approaching a resolution to the story that has taken the Winter Meetings by storm.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest that they made a new offer to Albert Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano earlier today.

No word on the exact terms, but the Cardinals’ offer from earlier this year was reported to be somewhere in the range of $198-210 million over nine years. The Cardinals didn’t intend to budge from that, but their hand was forced after the Marlins boosted their offer to 10 years late last night.

According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the standing offer from the Marlins is believed to be worth $220 million over 10 years. St. Louis has been asked to match and Miami is said to be “pushing” for a resolution tonight. We’ll continue to track the latest here throughout the evening.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Not a tragedy if we don’t get Pujols. It’s exciting to think about, but 10 years is a long time.

  2. hammyofdoom - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    I’m really of two minds on this. I really have zero vesting interest in the Cardinals, and rationally I think paying that much for a guy who’s 31 and just recently his elbow was giving him a bunch of problems is absolutely NUTS .(anyone remember when he couldn’t extend his arm the whole way because of that?) But I also hate seeing franchise players like this leave their teams, because I know if I were in that situation I’d be heartbroken. I guess all Cards fans can hope for is that they don’t hamstring themselves with Albert.

    • bozosforall - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:43 PM

      Of course, having won two WS titles in the last five years would soften the blow on the back end for the Cards, particularly if they won one or two more with Pujols during the front end of his contract. Not many teams could afford to do that, not even the Marlins. If I were the Cards, I’d match…not often that a team gets to say that one of the greatest ever to play the game (which will be said about Pujols before it’s all said and done) was with them for the entirety of his career. The long-term merchandizing and marketing that will accompany his eventual retirement will also help to soften the blow of his huge contract.

  3. bearyinsane - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    How about having performance based bonuses to “meet in the middle” w/ contract negotions?… If Albert has a season greater-than or equal triple crown numbers .300 avg, 100 rbi, and 30 hrs? Nfl does these types of deals all the time. It’s insurance for both parties involved.

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:35 PM

      …because MLB does not allow for performance based contracts. You can include bonuses for career milestones or PAs or awards, but that’s about it.

      • bearyinsane - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:38 PM

        I wasnt sure if they did or not.. so my bad.

  4. genericcommenter - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Why don’t any teams offer higher AAV for shorter terms? Offer him $180 for 6 or something. Then if he’s still worth anything at 38, he can go out and get another contract(s) and end up making more total money. I know it’s a little less security, but otherwise the insistence on such a long contract is like an admission by the player he’s not going to perform up to it. The team would pay more sooner but wouldn’t be stuck paying a 40+ year old $20-22 Mil to take up a spot and not do anything.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:39 PM

      I’m with you on this. Plus if he wants to in 6 seasons, he can retire a very wealthy man. 10 years is asking for negativity from fans on the tail end, as well as from the team.

  5. xmatt0926x - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    Any team with this contract will eventually be hamstrung. Isn’t saying that a 31 year old has 5 more great seasons in him a stretch? 10 friggen years!!! Unreal. Not to say there aren’t maybe 3 great and 3 pretty good seasons in there, but 10 years?

  6. Jonny 5 - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Wow, is all I have to say. He’s played 11 seasons and now a 10 year contract. And people said the Howard deal was insanity…. Which it was, but this is even more insaner-er. I hope he lasts that long. And I mean it.

    • goawaydog - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:46 PM

      I give you a thumbs up just for using the word “insaner-er”

  7. hammyofdoom - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    All I can really hope for for the Cardinals sake is that the first 4-5 years have more money in them then the tail half, because DAMN.

    • 78mu - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:41 PM

      They would pay 220 million either way. If they backload it the dollars 10 years from now are worth less than the dollars today. If you’re going to pay him for 10 years the best deal would the league minimum for 9 years and the balance in the 10th.

  8. amaninwhite - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    I speculated this morning that, after multiple meetings with the Marlins, that Pujol’s agent would then take that offer and use it to leverage the Cardinals into increasing theirs. One commenter disagreed that would happen.

    • burnsy - Dec 6, 2011 at 7:49 PM

      Isn’t that how negotiations work?

    • blueintown - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

      Wow. You should be an agent.

  9. hammyofdoom - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    I’m curious, is it normal for a team to do what the Marlins are doing? Going to the commish before they even have a deal in place? I mean I don’t think I’ve heard of it before, which leads me to believe the comments about the contract being “interesting” made by Marlin higher-ups is very true and theres something involved that makes this contract different than most minus the gobs of dough.

    • Old Gator - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:04 PM

      It’s normal. When a contract is full of deferred money and various accounting sleights-of-hand, the commissioner’s orifice has to check it out to be sure that it doesn’t violate the current agreement with the player’s association and create all sorts of headaches – especially for a commissioner who is a drooling moron in the first place.

    • paperlions - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:10 PM

      If you aren’t doing a straight up deal, with large amounts of deferred money or funky clauses in it (like the ARod deal for milestone bonuses), it is always a good idea to find out if those condition will be approved before moving on in negotiations. In fact, I’m sure agents require that teams get such things pre-approved.

  10. Ben - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    Is it possible to get an exemption to the clause not allowing active players to have an ownership stake in teams?
    /idle speculation

    • JBerardi - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM

      Probably not. The conflict of interest problems are kind of… glaring.

      • randygnyc - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:36 PM

        I’m almost sure that an owner can intact also be a player. There is no conflict of interest there, although MLB could have other objections.

  11. hammyofdoom - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    MYSTERY TEAM!

    • JBerardi - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:53 PM

      Oh man, how long until we see FlightTracker makes an appearance?

      • sknut - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:09 PM

        This is fascinating, not a Cards fan but wow so much drama involved. I will almost be sad when its over.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Dec 7, 2011 at 8:32 AM

        for Santa?

  12. stlsteelerfan - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    if he does go to MIA, I hope he enjoys playing in front of empty seats. Even when they were WS champs they couldnt get people in the stadium.

  13. umrguy42 - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    ESPN’s crawl is claiming the Cubs have made an offer. As a Cards fan, this day kinda sucks.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:05 PM

      They’ve been saying that for a while. Their offer was for less than 10 years so nobody expected him to take it.

  14. spudchukar - Dec 6, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Have Faith. They are simply driving up the price.

    • umrguy42 - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:05 PM

      spud, this is worse than watching Game 6 for me.

  15. brewcrewfan54 - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    Wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the Yankees. Pujols plays 3B with A-Rod doing the DH’ing.

  16. birdgang - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    Source just told me the Phillies have entered the Pujols sweepstakes, with the idea of moving Ryan Howard to third when he returns. With the offers out there greeting thrown at Pujols the Phillies are surprised with the relatively low annual salary being offered and just made their own pitch…

    • blueintown - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:09 PM

      Who’s your source, birdgang? If that is your real name..

    • hammyofdoom - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:17 PM

      That would be amazing in a “Hey look! That dumpster full of fireworks is on fire!” kind of way. I mean seriously, I dont even know what I think of that idea…

    • nagrommit - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:26 PM

      Third team has been identified as the Florida Marlins.

    • spudchukar - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:27 PM

      I would pay serious cash to watch Howard, a lefty, play 3B. That said, he would be better than Alonso.

      • JBerardi - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:35 PM

        Howard doesn’t need to be a righty to play third, he can throw the ball with his pure clutchness.

      • spudchukar - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:09 PM

        Kudos, made me laugh.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:26 PM

        Howard has a spaghetti arm. He can’t play third.

  17. cur68 - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Could this get any more tense? So now a 3rd team has jumped in…this could be the Phillys doing something about that potent RH bat they need or just some team attempting a shenanigan move to drive up the final signing money/years for Phat Al. Whoever signs Pujols may well cripple themselves in a few years if this contract gets any more monstrous.

    • sknut - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:21 PM

      Realistically who could it be? Sounds like the Cubs didn’t offer ten years.

      I will throw a wild card out there Milwaukee, their owner is pretty agressive. But maybe that doesn’t make any sense cause they could just re-sign Fielder, I am just grasping at who else wants to be involved at 10 yr/200 million.

      • dwrek5 - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:36 PM

        Is Baltimore too big of a stretch? New GM, quite AL East (so far), could take some spotlight from the Nats…
        -Grasping

    • hammyofdoom - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:56 PM

      Not at all, they’ve been looking for a first baseman ever since Mark Teixeira was on the market a few years back. It wouldnt surprise me, since they were in on him, very competitive and they are really looking to make a splash.

  18. jerseybando - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    Remember who the “mystery team” was last year?

    • phillyphever - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:36 PM

      As much as I would love to have him here, I rather them sign Jimmy and A-Ram instead.

  19. thefalcon123 - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Seriously, I’ve wasted a whole day on this shit. I didn’t get work done because I was frantically checking twitter every four seconds…then I got home from work, turned on MLB and have been sitting in front the computer, again, frantically checking twitter. That’s it, I’m done. I no longer care who Albert Pujols signs with!

    Who am I kidding? It’s gonna be a loooooooooong night.

    • burnsy - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:37 PM

      Coffee’s brewing.

      • phillyphever - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:42 PM

        Poor me a cup with some cream and sugar.

      • spudchukar - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:01 PM

        Cream & Sugar my ass, spike me with some Everclear.

  20. birdsnblues - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    Getting tired of checking this every 37 seconds

    • sknut - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:44 PM

      Not sure how your waiting 37 I must be at about 20.

  21. phillyphever - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Mystery team is NOT the Phillies:

    • JBerardi - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:02 PM

      His source? Ryan Howard’s contract and common fvcking sense.

      • phillyphever - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:09 PM

        You never know what the hell is going on inside the mind of Ruben Amaro Jr.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:23 PM

        He might just think, “trade Howard for Kyle Lohse” then sign Albert. But that would be uncivilized. Wouldn’t it?

  22. Old Gator - Dec 6, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    I’m kicking back with an acai smoothie and watching the original Japanese version of Godzilla (Gojira) from 1954, all white identity figures excised. Will Emiko Yamane rat out Dr. Serizawa’s oxygen destroyer? Now this is my idea of tension.

    Call my cell phone and leave a message if Pujols makes his goddamned mind up.

  23. burnsy - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    It’s the Cubs.

  24. jerseybando - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    This is what makes baseball great. Winter meetings and the summer trading deadline. No other sport can match this…and the twisted mind of RAJ.

  25. thefalcon123 - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    I’m turning in. In the event Pujols signs with the Marlins, I offer up this song as his tribute. Just mentally change “li’l Sebastian” for “L’il Albert”.

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