The word in south Florida this morning is that the Marlins aren't likely a serious threat to land Albert Pujols.
At least not yet.
Supposedly the Fish talked with Pujols during their Friday meeting about a contract that would pay ever so slightly more than the Cardinals offered in the spring -- but for a shorter term that would make the overall value of the deal considerably less.
While some reports surfaced last night that the offer was firm -- and that the Marlins also made firm offers to Mets free agent shortstop Jose Reyes and to White Sox free agent starting pitcher Mark Buerhle, si.com says the talks were all very preliminary in nature and that there is nothing imminent on any of the players.
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Meanwhile, the talk in St. Louis is that the Cardinals plan to finally get off their dime and start talking with Pujols again.
There have been repeated comments from the national media that the Birds don't plan to up their offer much from the reported $200 million or so for nine years they made in spring training. I think they're going to have to move a little bit to make something happen. But it might be a shuffling game. The Cardinals could make their offer look better on paper by making it eight years instead of nine and deferring some money to make the pay out the same on an annual basis. What difference does it make, really? Pujols would be 40 when the deal is up, so it's likely that he'd be pretty much done. And if he does want to play on, the Redbirds would likely be able to go year-to-year as he closes out his playing days.
The other possibility on such a deal is an option year or two at the end. But the club would likely have to make those numbers substantial to make them attractive. That could cause problems at the end of the deal. But I would be willing to worry about that much later.
The upside of options is that it makes the deal look better on paper. It would go from an eight-year contract for $210 million to "a deal that could pay Pujols as much as $270 million over 10 years.