Contrary to earlier reports out of Florida that the Marlins' offer to Albert Pujols was in the range of seven years and a $167 million, Yahoo says the proposal may have actually topped the offer the Cardinals made to their free agent slugger before spring training.
Tim Brown writes that he heard the Marlins, during a visit to their new retractable roof stadium last Friday, offered Pujols a nine-year deal for $225 million. He seemed more certain, however, about the length than the dollar figure of the deal pegging $25 million a year as a "competitive average annual value."
It's all very shaky. But, even if these numbers are close than the ones being tossed around over the weekend, it still seems doubtful that this would be enough to lure Pujols away from his St. Louis comfort zone.
The Cardinals offer Albert a situation that has resulted in three World Series appearances, two World Series championships and five league championship appearances over the last 11 years. They offer him a chance to continue to play in front of adoring packed houses. The Marlins have pledged to up their payroll as they move into a new ballpark. But they have traditionally been amongst the leagues attendance bottom dwellers. It will remain to be seen for a couple of years if a fancy new ballpark is the magic bullet to luring fans on a consistent basis.
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Remember, this is a club that twice won the World Series but couldn't afford to keep the band together because they still couldn't draw on a consistent basis despite their successes.
And, regardless of the money, there are other factors involved. I don't think there is any way that Pujols signs a contract that doesn't offer a full no-trade clause. He's very choosy about the situation in which he wants to play, so he's not going to sign a deal to play in one city and allow himself to be traded anyplace in year two or three. Don't forget that he pledged he would accept no trade from the Cardinals in 2011 because he had the right to block it.
While we have heard plenty about Miami this week, what we haven't heard much about is what the Cardinals are doing to keep their star. And, from the words of GM John Mozeliak, we shouldn't expect to hear anything soon.
Mozeliak told MLB.com that he and Pujols' representation have extended their promise to maintain a cone of silence around their negotiations.
I'm not sure what the benefit of this is. But I hope it means that the Cardinals enjoy something of a competitive advantage. It could mean that Pujols just doesn't want to endure the public speculation about his wheelings and dealings. But hopefully it means that the player and the club have a high level of trust for each other and a working agreement that could result in a quick deal.
Unless the Redbirds don't plan to try to re-sign Pujols, it would seem to be in Albert's best interest to stoke as much hype as he could to try to create a bidding war.