Albert Pujols Focus of St. Louis Cardinals at GM Meetings: Fan Take

The top free agent in baseball is the focus of the St. Louis Cardinals at Major League Baseball's general manager meetings in Milwaukee this week. Starting Nov. 14, all 30 general managers in MLB will be in one place. It's a bonanza for free agent signings and agents will make the rounds. Albert Pujols(notes) will be the subject of many meet-and-greets.

Dan Lozano, Pujols' agent, will be meeting with Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak sometime this week. CBS Sports reports Lozano will meet with the team's top brass to try to hammer out a deal for the superstar in Milwaukee. The Miami Marlins reportedly made a nine-year deal, somewhere at or below $225 million, for the first baseman.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted Mozeliak as saying Pujols is the "face of the organization." The writing is on the wall should the Pujols deal not get done. St. Louis signed Lance Berkman(notes) to a one-year, $12 million deal for next season back in September. Berkman spent time in right field this year while recovering from a leg injury. Berkman's old position with the Houston Astros was first base.

ESPN reports other teams interested in Pujols are supposedly the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs. Should the Rangers find more money than the Cardinals, Pujols going to another winning team is not out of the realm of possibility. Going to a division rival such as the Cubs would be a step down as they rarely make the playoffs.

The Marlins are attractive as they have a new ballpark, new uniforms and hopefully loads of fans. The Latino population in the city would certainly be a draw for Pujols. MLB.com reports another free agent was in Miami being courted by the Marlins. Jose Reyes(notes) was supposedly offered six years and $90 million as a shortstop. If he signs on the dotted line, Reyes will be the highest paid Marlin in history.

The Marlins also have another difficulty. Any World Series may be years away. St. Louis has the ingredients to make it back to the Fall Classic next year. If winning another title is important to Pujols, he should stick with St. Louis. The Cardinals also have to offer him several hundred million reasons to stay.

William Browning was born in St. Louis and is a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan. He currently resides in Branson, Mo.

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Updated Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011