Could Miami be getting another Big Three?
According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins' brass met with Albert Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday during the MLB Winter Meetings in Dallas. ESPN's Jayson Stark later reported on a second scheduled meeting between the two sides set for Monday evening.
If Pujols were to take his talents to South Beach -- like another sports superstar who had previously spent his entire career with one team in the Heartland -- then he would form the core a formidable lineup along with Reyes and incumbent superstar Hanley Ramirez -- not to mention young mashers Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison.
On Sunday, sources informed Stark that the Fish "plan to make an aggressive run at Pujols." On Monday, the Marlins seemed to prove the reliability of that information. After 11 stellar seasons with St. Louis, Pujols is a free agent for the first time in his career. The three-time NL MVP was peppered with questions about his impending free agency almost immediately after the Cardinals captured the 2011 World Series.
"You know what? I'm not even thinking about that," Pujols said at the time. "I'm thinking about, you know, we're the world champions and I'm going to celebrate and whenever that time comes, you know, then we'll deal with it."
Well, it seems like the time has come to "deal with it."
Aside from reportedly scheduling two meetings with the Marlins on Monday, Pujols' agent also found time to meet with the Cardinals. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak also spoke directly with the slugger.
Although the Cardinals had long been weary of the rival Chicago Cubs swooping in to offer Pujols a lavish contract, the Marlins have clearly emerged suddenly as the most dangerous competitor. Among those selling potential signees, like Pujols, on the ballclub is new manager Ozzie Guillen, who the Marlins pried away from the Chicago White Sox in September.
Aside from the marquee acquisitions of Guillen, Reyes and Bell, the Florida franchise is totally reinventing itself, recently unveiling new uniforms and preparing to move in to a new ballpark. In November, Pujols made a visit to the Marlins' new home. After that trip, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria sounded upbeat about the meeting.
"He's terrific," Loria said. "I can only tell you that he loved the stadium, he liked being here, he liked the flavor of Miami."