Word broke late Monday night that the Miami Marlins had offered Albert Pujols a 10 year contract, but there was no word on the size of the deal. Since the Marlins had low-balled Pujols their first time giving him an offer, it seemed entirely possible that the Marlins weren't offering Pujols a competitive offer. Sure, the deal could be 10 years long, but if the Marlins were only guaranteeing Pujols $18 million per season, there was no way he would sign with them.
As it turns out, though, the Marlins are for real:
The hangup right now seems to be over a no-trade clause -- Pujols wants one; the Marlins don't want to give him one -- but I'm willing to go on record and say that I believe Pujols ends up in Miami next season. The Marlins need Pujols more than the Cardinals do, both on the field and off, and this is their one shot to re-energize the franchise and give it a new direction. Pujols would put them in playoff contention, and he'd represent a new start for the troubled franchise.
The Marlins don't have much money committed in future years down the road, so they're quite the dangerous bidding opponent. They're not concerned about being "baseball smart" right now; they're willing to throw everything they have at the players they want. They don't care about how it will affect their franchise seven years down the road; if they don't get off to a hot start in their new stadium, their franchise will have a bleak future in seven years as it is.
Watch out, Cardinals...the Marlins are coming on hard. And you'd better not underestimate them.