The 2011 MLB Winter Meetings begin Monday, and with them phase two of the hot stove league's ever-churning rumor mill. The St. Louis Cardinals, along with the rest of baseball, are in attendance, and with them Albert Pujols's agent, who's seen what's rumored to be a less-than-spectacular turnout for his prized free agent in the first month of the offseason. John Mozeliak and company will continue negotiations for Pujols, even as writers like Jon Heyman suggest he hasn't yet been able to beat the Cardinals' preseason offer.
Pujols, who will not be joining Dan Lozano and company at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, is coming off the worst season of his career and a new spate of age-related allegations, as yet entirely uncorroborated, but given Prince Fielder's own weight-related concerns he remains the top free agent in baseball—so long as teams are willing to commit nine to 10 years to a 31-year-old first baseman.
For updates throughout the Winter Meetings, follow along with SB Nation St. Louis's Winter Meetings storystream, or just ask very loudly whether anyone's signed Albert Pujols yet. (This may only work in the St. Louis area.)