Wooing of Pujols leads to Marlins spectacle

Tim Brown
Yahoo Sports
Wooing of Pujols leads to Marlins spectacle
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Where Albert Pujols will end up is still TBD, but the chase for the first baseman is causing commotion …

DALLAS – Another day passed here at the MLB winter meetings with incremental progress on the Albert Pujols(notes) front.

The Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals have offers on the table.

The Marlins are in at 10 years and at least $200 million. The particulars of the Cardinals' counter are unknown, but it is believed to be competitive with the Marlins. The Chicago Cubs, according to reports, had also joined the fray, the mystery suitor other reporters had made reference to earlier in the day.

Marlins officials met with MLB representatives for about 10 minutes Tuesday night to go over the finer details of their proposal. There could be no holdups now.

The rest consisted of the teams meeting with Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, followed by grim-faced Marlins executives traipsing back to their suite.

"Nothing to report," club president David Samson said mid-evening, after perhaps the last of Tuesday's in-person meetings. "There really is nothing to report."

Trailing behind, Miami's president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest was asked if he believed there was a time element to the standing offers.

He rolled his eyes in apparent disgust and turned away.

These are the faces and postures of the new Marlins, apparently still holding the same dismissive attitudes of the old Marlins.

[Related: MLB rookie managers on wild winter meetings ride]

If the Marlins are intent on changing the personality of the National League, or the Cardinals on winning back their slugger, or the Cubs on swiping him out from under both, it apparently would wait a few more hours.

"Well, the one thing I am confident of is that this organization is committed to winning and doing the right thing, and I know the ownership group is putting their best foot forward and trying to do everything that they can to make this possible," said new Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "But I also know it's a complicated decision on both sides. There's a lot going on, a lot that I'm not even involved in, but I think it's clear to say that St. Louis Cardinals would love to have Albert, and we'll see how it all plays out."

On Day 2 of the winter meetings, when the concrete news saw the Toronto Blue Jays acquire a closer – Sergio Santos(notes) – from the Chicago White Sox, the New York Mets fill out their bullpen by coming to terms with relievers Frank Francisco(notes) (two years, $12 million) and Jon Rauch(notes) (one year, $3.5 million) and trading for Ramon Ramirez(notes), and the Los Angeles Angels appeared to be closing in on a starting pitcher (they'd been hot on C.J. Wilson(notes), for one), the spectacle was provided by the ever-parading Marlins.

In early afternoon, four Marlins officials – owner Jeffrey Loria, presidents Samson and Beinfest and general manager Michael Hill – burst from a set of lobby elevators 18 floors beneath agent Lozano's suite.

They were greeted there by a dozen writers, all hoping to hold them to their promise from an hour before.

On the way across the floor, they'd said they'd have more information later in the afternoon.

And so when the stars of these winter meetings emerged, there was anticipation. Did they return with hope for Pujols? Had they been rebuffed? Did they buy the hotel and convention center?

The four Marlins turned right, then left and through the phalanx of interrogators.

Their destination was another elevator, 200 yards to freedom.

They said nothing, staring straight ahead, trudging through the gauntlet, then leading the flying wedge across the floor. They ignored questions shouted from all sides. Cameras flashed. Cameramen backpedalled.

Reporters chased like antelopes. Pot-bellied, balding, saggy-pantsed, wheezing antelopes. Those caught in the rush were swallowed by the churning tributary and spit into the wake. Grown men gaped.

Fifty yards from the elevators, the leading foursome swept up Ozzie Guillen, the new Marlins manager, without so much as a nod.

The elevator doors opened and then they were gone, leaving the meetings still anticipating the next big move, that being Pujols.

Similar scenes played out through the day, the Marlins clearly put off by the rigors of their new fame.

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