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Cards increase offer to Pujols

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Associated Press
December 7, 2011
— Jeffrey Loria quickly marched down the hallway with his team president, trailed by their top aides, and hustled into a meeting room with a labor lawyer from Major League Baseball.

Having already made the biggest splash at the winter meetings, the Miami Marlins owner was trying to reel in Albert Pujols and perhaps other big-name free agents with the newfound riches from their new ballpark.


“He’s not the only guy,” Loria said about 20 minutes later before heading back upstairs on an elevator with his delegation.


Baseball’s new Big Fish were the talk of the winter meetings Tuesday, with teams wondering how close the Marlins were to an agreement with Pujols on a deal that could be worth $200 million or more over 10 years for the three-time NL MVP.


St. Louis said it submitted a new offer Tuesday to keep Pujols with the Cardinals, a team he’s already led to two World Series titles in the last six seasons.


Agents for other players said they had heard the Los Angeles Angels were bidding, too.


Traditional big spenders such as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were reduced to spectators.


“They have a new stadium. They’re excited about it, and it’s good for baseball,” former Marlins and current Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “They had hoped that they’d get the new stadium and they would be able to do those types of things. Our roster is pretty set. We have a lot of guys that are on long-term deals. That’s why maybe there’s not a lot happening for us.”


Having already reached deals with All-Star closer Heath Bell ($27 million for three years) and All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes ($106 million for six), the Marlins’ interest in Pujols is real. What’s unclear is whether the first baseman is prepared to go to Miami or whether his talks with the Marlins are an attempt to push the Cardinals higher.


“I know the ownership group is putting their best foot forward and trying to do everything that they can to make this possible,” new Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, “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.”



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