The effort to re-sign Cardinals free agent superstar Albert Pujols has taken a disturbing turn as the Marlins met with his agent at least twice on Monday and reportedly increased their initial contract offer.
Meanwhile, St. Louis GM John Mozeliak started making weak statements something to the effect that the door hasn't closed yet and until it closes he thinks the Redbirds still have a chance to sign the best player in baseball.
Simply put, if Pujols signs elsewhere, it's because the Cardinals blew it. They played games the last two off-seasons instead of making a realistic offer to sign Pujols. Two years ago they never even made an offer and last year they offered $21 or $22 million a year, an amount that wouldn't even make Pujols one of the top 10 highest-paid players in baseball.
Then the Cardinals set about publicly pronouncing that their offer in the spring was no longer good and that it would probably be shortened at least a year... Why the games? Are they TRYING to irritate him until the point that he gets mad and leaves? That's sure what it seems like to me.
The Cardinals also keep publicly saying that they need to hold their payroll to $110 million, which is ridiculous. Apparenlty the Marlins, who could only dream of the ticket sales and other revenue the Redbirds have enjoyed over the last decade and a half, can afford to spend well more than that. A bump to $115-$120 million seems very reasonable and would easily accomodate the extra cash to bring Pujols back.
And what about the talk about giving Pujols a share of the team instead of cash? The Cardinals have never given that idea much thought.
I'm still hoping for a miracle. But my biggest fear from the start was that the Birds never really intended to make an honest effort to sign Albert. And that sure seems to be the reality these days.