And now it appears that the Marlins have thrown their day-glo hat into the ring for none other than Albert Pujols—who may be the best free agent available in the history of free agency.
The sun hadn't even set before the Marlins had made a 10-year, $200 million offer to Pujols.
Whoa, that's a ton of money.
Just imagine the size of the rainbow it would take to lead you to that gargantuan pot of gold.
By the end of the day, the rainbow's pots had reportedly tripled, as the Cardinals and a mystery team—that is definitely not the Harlem Globetrotters—had purportedly made it rain in the form of 10 years in excess of 20 million per.
As evening set in at the Hilton Anatole in downtown Dallas, most media had learned that the race was essentially down to two teams: the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals.
So who's it going to be?
The answer, of course, is anybody's guess. I'm more than willing to take a gander myself.
The Miami Marlins Will Win If They Add a No-Trade Clause
Early on, it seemed as though this is what was holding Pujols back from, well, signing his "Pujols" on the dotted line to seal the deal.
The Marlins have been vehemently opposed to giving any player a no-trade clause. Understandably so, because if there is any team in the game's last 20 years that has the reputation for a quick "fire sale," it's the Marlins.
But, this isn't 1998, and Albert Pujols isn't your average player.
He's a shoo-in HOF inductee now—if all it takes for you to sign him is a silly no-trade clause, well, you need to get that done.
After all, if you can pony up the reported $220 million, then why not go the extra mile?
The St. Louis Cardinals Will Win the Pujols Lottery If...
To be honest, I don't know if it's the sensationalistic nature of the MLB Winter Meetings or what, but the media seems to have already ruled out the Cardinals.
I think that, in some ways, the Cardinals have the edge in nabbing "Phat Albert." I mean, he did just win a World Series there. And—check this—the team's true ace, Adam Wainwright, will be back in full force in 2012.
Berkman—who absolutely mashed in the World Series—is back on board also. Some dude named "Freese" who I think sort of, kind of, had a decent postseason is back in the mix too.
So why would Albert want to go anywhere else?
Plus, as recently as late last night, the Cardinals had supposedly made an additional offer to Pujols—perhaps the keys to the city, or the keys to Fort Knox?
It might have been that cherished no-trade clause.
Obviously, this is purely speculative on my part, but I think if Pujols was going to re-sign with the Cardinals, he would have done so last offseason.
I think that Pujols will be a Miami Marlin for the remainder of his career.
He'll look pretty good in the pastels of the mighty fish, don't you think?
UPDATE: Oh what a difference a day makes. I don't know about you all, but I'll never get used to the whole concept of "sleeping on" an offer of 10 years and 200 million...from three freaking clubs! I suppose Pujols has already paid off his Karma dues with cold, hard cash.
Regardless, it looks now like the Cardinals (yawn) and not the Miami Marlins are the most likely to (re-) gain Pujols' services for the next decade.