After being the front-runner to sign star first baseman Albert Pujols last night, it appears that the Miami Marlins will come in second in the bidding to the St. Louis Cardinals. While nothing is official, the Cardinals have matched the Marlins’ offer, and the Marlins have said they will not go any higher. Pujols has roots in the St. Louis area and a de facto no-trade clause with the Cardinals due to MLB’s 10-and-5 rule, so it seems unlikely that he’d chose to go to Miami if the money is equal.
As it has become clear that the Marlins are likely to lose out on Pujols, they have started to aggressively pursue other top free agents on the market. They have already offered a 6-year deal to starter C.J. Wilson, and they have told both Wilson and Mark Buehrle that they will break off their pursuit of Pujols if one of them signs.
Also, the Marlins have expressed interest in the other top slugger on the market: Prince Fielder. Fielder does not have the same allure as Pujols, but he is younger and would likely be a safer investment over the next seven (or so) years. It’s also possible (although maybe not likely) that the Marlins could sign Fielder and one of Wilson/Buehrle for just slightly more than they were willing to pay Pujols.
To join in the conversation about this ongoing saga, head over to SB Nation’s blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.