Yesterday, I, and many others, openly speculated that the lack of serious movement at the Winter Meetings this week was caused by the unending Albert Pujols saga. His is the first domino in a long train, which but needs a slight flick to get everything else moving.
But, even after the Miami Marlins exited the story, Pujols isn’t flinching.
According to Jayson Stark, a Pujols decision is no longer expected by the end of the Winter Meetings today, thanks in large part to the involvement of the Los Angeles Angels and an unidentified third team, both of which are reportedly willing to go over $200 million for Pujols. The decision, apparently, could take several days.
Now, the fact that the Marlins have pulled their offer for Pujols (or Pujols flatly told them “no,” depending on whom you ask) clears the path for some action, and we saw that yesterday with the Mark Buehrle signing.
But I’ve got to believe a great deal of what the Cubs want to do is being held up.
First, there’s the outstanding Cubs offer to Pujols, which is believed to be a short-term, high dollar offer (if it exists at all). No one expects it is being seriously considered, but it is out there. Then, you’ve got Prince Fielder, who is not expected to seriously entertain offers until Pujols signs. Then, you’ve got trades the Cubs might like to make – for example, exploring a deal with the Rangers for Matt Garza, or a deal with the Mariners for Justin Smoak – that are theoretically held up by the Rangers’ and Mariners’ theoretical pursuit of Fielder (it’s all theoretical).
Of course, the lack of movement by the Cubs could simply be a case of the Cubs biding their time until after next Monday’s non-tender deadline to see what other players become available – or, even more simply, a case of the Cubs choosing not to move on anything that has yet been available to them.