Pujols continues shopping after Marlins' offer

Albert Pujols has a 9-year offer from the Marlins and is expected to field several more

The contract offer made to Albert Pujols(notes) by the Miami Marlins seems to be about where the St. Louis Cardinals have lingered since spring training, or much closer to Joe Mauer’s(notes) numbers than Alex Rodriguez’s.(notes)

On Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports reported that the offer from the suddenly – and suspiciously – flush Marlins was for nine years. We couldn’t secure the dollar amount, but guessed – given the Marlins’ need to at least get Pujols’ attention – that it could have been in the $225 million range.

On Wednesday, the Palm Beach Post reported the offer was for less than $200 million, so the average annual value – at most – would be $22 million.

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That’s not bad, but it is about where the Cardinals were last spring training, and so certainly not the kind of money that will bring an early close to Pujols’ winter of free agency. You’d assume Pujols would pick the Cardinals in a financial break-even, but maybe the Marlins know something we don’t.

According to one source, at least three teams are actively jockeying for Pujols. The Cardinals and Marlins we know about. The third could be the Chicago Cubs or Texas Rangers. And the list likely will grow.

Thus far, the Marlins are pushing the market, having scattered hundreds of millions of dollars in offers to Pujols, Mark Buehrle(notes), Jose Reyes(notes) and Ryan Madson(notes). There could even be others.

They also have a keen interest in Prince Fielder(notes), but, according to sources, have not yet made the kind of offer to Fielder that they have to Pujols.

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And, well, just to keep things interesting for the boys wandering the hotel lobby at the general manager and owners meetings in Milwaukee, a report out of St. Louis said Pujols would announce his return to the Cardinals on Friday.

That was shot down by all sides.

But, hey, you never know.

What's new in Dodgertown?

There’s lots on the Los Angeles Dodgers front.

According to a team source, they hope to announce Matt Kemp’s(notes) contract by Friday.

Having signed second baseman Mark Ellis(notes), they seek middle-infield depth and are measuring Ramon Santiago(notes), Jerry Hairston Jr.(notes) and Clint Barmes(notes).

Owner Frank McCourt arrived in Milwaukee on Wednesday. His presence surprised some baseball people.

A Chicago Tribune reporter quoted “an executive” in Milwaukee as saying, “Can you believe this guy is coming to the meeting? Wouldn’t you just think he’d take his money and go?”

To which Howard Sunkin, a Dodger senior VP, responded, “The man has a fiduciary responsibility to his enterprise and his investment. To presume he would act otherwise is nonsensical, inappropriate and narrow-minded.”

Also relating to McCourt, officials familiar with the sales process – being handled by Blackstone Group LP – say there have been dozens of inquiries from potential buyers.

The names fill almost five pages and represent, one official said, “a who’s who of America.

Tigers seek backup catcher

The Detroit Tigers don’t have a ton of work to do this winter, but finding a catcher who can spell Alex Avila(notes) appears to be important. They’re looking at Jose Molina(notes), among others.

Victor Martinez(notes) started 26 games at catcher and was gimpy down the stretch and into the postseason, something the Tigers would like to avoid next season. Also, he was much more productive offensively as a designated hitter than as a catcher.

They’ll also consider upgrading at third base, but would rather not pay Aramis Ramirez(notes) prices and don’t see much help elsewhere.

Managerial candidates for Red Sox, Cubs

Still waiting on managers in Chicago and Boston.

Dale Sveum interviewed Wednesday in Milwaukee with Boston officials. Terry Francona told one reporter he wouldn’t manage in 2012 and told others he might, but simply wasn’t interested in the Cubs job.

Sveum managed the Brewers for 12 games at the end of 2008 and for the four games it took for them to get eliminated from the playoffs. He’s being touted by some as the front-runner in Boston, with Mike Maddux getting the same treatment in Chicago.

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