All day yesterday, we heard that Albert Pujols would make a decision on his multiple offers by that night. But he didn’t. And Jayson Stark now says a decision is expected within the next 24 hours. Whateves. Fool me once…
- The Cardinals have reportedly upped their offer to 10 years and $220 million, which is just a hair under the Marlins’ offer (which is reportedly their final offer), or so says Jon Heyman. Whether the Cubs are still involved is a matter of debate (largely academic, as no one actually expects Pujols to come to the Cubs). Joel Sherman (New York media) says the Cubs are “definitely” in. Nick Cafardo (Boston media) says the Cubs are “definitely” not in. Protip: using the word “definitely” rarely makes you sound more authoritative, and, in instances like this, it just makes you sound foolish. (Tim Brown adds his own “definitely” to the mix, saying the Angels are “definitely” not in on Pujols, but that the Cubs have made contact.)
- Whatever the Cubs’ involvement on Albert Pujols, they’re “definitely” interested in Prince Fielder on the right deal. Jon Heyman calls the Cubs’ interest sincere, and Jim Duquette says the Mariners – believed by many to be the front-runner for Fielder – are not even involved. And the Mariners’ GM yesterday suggested that he expected the price on Fielder to get sufficiently high that he will be out of their range, whatever their interest.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer kinda-sorta confirmed the Cubs are looking at Pujols and Fielder, calling them “two players we’re involved in.” Whether he meant that the Cubs are pursuing them, or that the Cubs’ machinations hinge on the decisions of those two guys, is unclear (the new brass doesn’t, as a rule, comment on players they’re pursuing, so I suspect, unless it was a slip, he meant it the latter way). Hoyer added that a team can’t afford to wait forever while guys make their decisions, otherwise it misses out on other opportunities. “We’re working on a lot of fronts,” he said.
- The Marlins have had internal discussions about going after Fielder if Pujols rebuffs them. Of course, “internal discussions” could be all of “hey, dude, should we try to get Prince if Albert says no?” “I don’t know. Maybe.”
- Although he’s theoretically been available for weeks, A’s lefty Gio Gonzalez is becoming one of the many belles of the ball, with as many as 12 teams pursuing a deal. The Cubs make sense as one of those teams, but the asking price is expected to be extremely steep. For reference, Brett Jackson would merely be one of several required pieces.
- Carlos Pena remains in the not-expected-to-accept-arbitration category. The deadline to accept is midnight tonight (ET). Obviously, Aramis Ramirez is also not expected to accept.
- Gordon Wittenmyer’s sources tell him the Marlins have “serious” interest in Carlos Zambrano, assuming the Cubs eat enough salary. If you fall into the category of folks who desperately want the Cubs to deal Zambrano, you should be pulling hard for Pujols to sign with the Marlins – doing so will put them on the lookout for “cheap” starting pitching options.
- Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is still awaiting residency clearance in the DR, but it is expected soon. Once it comes in, the bidding is expected to come fast. The Cubs are believed to have heavy interest.
- Other teams expect the Braves to trade both Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado at some point. Despite a fit on the Cubs’ roster for both, neither has been connected to the Cubs in any rumors. Yet.
- CJ Wilson probably has a four-year, $60 million offer from the Rangers, and probably doesn’t have a six-year offer from the Angels.
- The closer market has become so saturated that guys like Francisco Rodriguez and Ryan Madson are considering accepting offers of arbitration (if you want a rooting interest, you should be hoping for both, because it could heavily and slightly screw the Brewers and Phillies, respectively).
- The Tigers won’t be bidding on Yu Darvish, should he be posted.