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Marlins nuke Reyes market, haven't given up on Pujols

The Mets apparently have bowed out of the race for their free agent shortstop after Miami offered Jose Reyes $118 million over six seasons.

The New York Post reports that New York has been informed of the Marlins' offer. But the Mets refuse to budge from their position that they won't offer more than $100 million to retain Reyes' services.

If the Marlins land Reyes with a deal just shy of $20 million a year they will have spent nearly $30 million a season thanks to their previous inking of Heath Bell. But they are still stalking starting pitcher Mark Buehrle with a deal that would pay a rumored $14 million a year... And they aren't giving up yet on the idea of signing St. Louis free agent Albert Pujols.

ESPN reported Sunday night that the Fish are the favorites to sign Pujols if he doesn't return to the Cardinals.

The question is how high can the Marlins' payroll go? If they keep adding high dollar players, they might just convince Pujols that they're the team to beat. But, reportedly, the Marlins' hang up with Buehrle is that the club doesn't offer no-trade clauses as a matter of policy. And Buehrle wants to have some say over where he's going to be playing if he inks a three-year contract. I can't imagine that Pujols, who has been so choosy about finding a landing spot where his team is going to be competitive for the duration of his stay, would agree to a deal that didn't have a no-trade clause.

While it's growing more discouraging by the day that Pujols and the Cardinals haven't been able to get together, it's a good sign if the Marlins are still the chief competition. Miami is said to have offered considerably less than the Birds did in March. So that means the Cubs either aren't as serious as some have claimed they are or else Pujols isn't willing to play there.