Talks and bids for free agent first baseman Albert Pujols have been heating up since the start of the MLB Winter Meetings on Monday. Front office members of the Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals all met Pujols' agent, Dan Lazano, on Monday, and each team has submitted a formal offer to Pujols. The Cardinals have yet to up their offer from the nine-year, $198 million bid Pujols rejected back in January, the Cubs have submitted a confirmed offer for the slugger, and the Marlins upped their offer to a ten-year deal worth over $200 million, all according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The fact that the Cardinals and Marlins are willing to offer Pujols nine and ten year deals, respectively, might be enough to push the Cubs out of the market for the 31-year old power hitter, as noted by Jon Heyman of MLB Network via Twitter:
The Cardinals are expected to modify their original January offer before the bidding ends on Pujols, but Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak was fairly evasive about exactly how the team plans to proceed at this point, saying:
"Even though the market is speaking there's no way for us to validate it. The only time you validate it is when a player signs, when you can put it on the board," Mozeliak said. "Other than that, it's speculation and you're trying to stay within your framework of what you feel is an appropriate deal."
Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Cardinals be sure to visit Viva El Birdos. Visit Baseball Nation for more news and notes around the league.