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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.

The Angels’ involvement is termed “strong” by some, but it’s plausible that it is merely a point of pressure being applied to CJ Wilson (though Bob Nightengale says the Angels can afford both).

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.

  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

    Me, me, me – Pujols daily mantra

    • hansman1982

      You mean:

      Me, me, me, beer, me, me, beer, me – MG daily twitter feed

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        There is also Cubs in there and more beer than you mentioned

  • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

    The third team in on Albert is the Yankees; Theo and Cash are enjoying working together on a secret Teixeira trade.

    My source is an imagination gorged on too much winter meeting non-news rumor-mongering.

    • hansman1982

      So you and BN share the same source…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Phil Rogers just threw out a concoction like that. Whereas you are clever and joking, Rogers seriously suggests that the mystery team is the Red Sox, who will then trade Adrian Gonzalez to the Cubs. Sigh. And people are probably going to start talking about it like it isn’t utterly absurd…

  • Fishin Phil

    Screw you Pujols!

  • Katie

    What a putz! I’m so tired of him. Make a decision already. Sheesh.
    Brett, I do have say the picture you use of him makes me smirk every time I see it.

  • OHBearCub

    I doubt Theo had interest in any of these front line free agents. He is waiting on the international free agents and second and third level guys. Don’t believe he is trading Garza. He can do enough this year taking this approach. Next years free agent market appears to be stronger. The new coaching staff at the MLB level and in the minors needs to coach up the talent they have further develop the existing assets. I think he holds to his vision. He has stated over and over its going to take a few years. I dont expect any key peices on the current roster to move. I believe he keeps Zambrano because its crazy to pay most of his salary to play somewhere else. I think its 40/60 that he could sign Feilder. I also think he keeps Soriano his contract is too much to eat with no return. Soriano will probably be a run producer this year with Sveum helping him everyday. Also the guy has some ego and pride. Quade did nothing to improve any of these guys. He set everyone back almost two years on offense and defense.

    • Fishin Phil

      OHBearCub,

      I’ve been thinking the same thing the last couple of days.  Furthermore, they aren’t even sure what kind of young talent is currently in the system as a certain former manager refused to give the kids a legitimate shot at the major league level next year.

      I much prefer they do not make big stupid mistakes just to make a splash.  Take your time Theo, do it right.

    • Kyle

      ” Next years free agent market appears to be stronger.”

      It does? I don’t see it.

    • Smitty

      I wouldn’t mind one or two signings, but agree with where you are coming from.

      What are some of the headliners of next year’s free-agent market?

      • Kyle

        It’s pretty weak on position players, especially at the positions the Cubs need.

        Assuming we don’t address our gaping systemic maw at 1b this offseason, then next year’s best option is a 35-year-old Travis Hafner.

        David Wright hits FA, but I still think he’s a huge bust. Maybe if he has a bounceback this season I’d be interested.

        Andre Ethier is of course a great, great player, but I doubt he hits free agency.

        Keeping in mind that all of these guys have a year to sign contract extensions with their current teams, the starting pitching market looks a lot better than this year’s:

        Matt Cain and Zack Greinke are the headliners, but it looks pretty deep too.

  • http://google louslew

    Greed, Greed, Greed and more Greed. Mr. Pujols how much is enough? How much do you need? Just how big is your ego? I have always believed that he would remain a Cardinal. Get
    on with it!!

    Every one on here has been complaining about no action, you seem to have forgotten the best possible move has already been made. New on field management!! I happen to believe that the Cubs would have been much better last year with better management. That being said, I don’t know that we will be better this year than last, with just a little tweaking but we can’t be worse.

    Just a little food for thought guys and gals, have at it.

    • Internet Random

      Regarding Pujols’s greed, the more the better. What the Cards need is crippling debt.

      Regarding new management, I’m with you. I’ve long thought that we had the talent to play .500 ball in 2011—just not the leadership.

      • EQ76

        I’ll play a little devil’s advocate here, but why the hell should Pujols care how long he takes?? it’s not his fault everyone else is waiting on him.. he’s got the same rights that Fielder and all the rest of them do.. he can sign whenever he pleases. I’m not sure it’s greed as much as really not knowing where he wants to play next year.. Think about it…The Cards just lost the only manager he’s ever had, but he still probably feels a loyalty there.. going to the Cubs would be a stab in the back to his home town team.. then he could go half way across the US for Cali… he may really not know. The money is huge whatever he does, this may really be more about where than how much he gets.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          He shouldn’t. But he’s screwing up the Cardinals, too – so where’s his loyalty in that regard?

          • EQ76

            that’s the thing.. Larussa leaving may make him feel less loyal.. but still, I just keep thinking, he’s gonna make a ton wherever he goes.. It’s all about the same money.. so the hold up could really be more about the internal debate of leaving STL or not? He’s also gotta be weighing if the damage to his rep in STL is worth coming to the Cubs.. if our offer is really out there.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I think the Cubs’ offer is really out there, but I don’t think he’s seriously considering it.

  • OHBearCub

    Wasnt the Cubs pitching staff one of the better ones in terms of K’s nd era as well as innings before Quade took over and Hendry traded Lilly for nothing. I was never a big Rothschild proponent but it goes to show how fast a bag of idiots can F up a pitching staff. rothschild new how to hold all of Marmols peices together. As well as the rest of the staff.

    I hope its better under the new regime. I will live with 3rd place finish and. 500 ball this year. Looking to the future.

    • Kyle

      The Cubs went from 4th in strikeouts in 2010 to 6th in 2011.

      I really miss the 2000s, when the Cubs had the greatest strikeout staff in history for an extended period.

  • OHBearCub

    The kids we have in the minors have on winning teams the last few years. Ryno had AA and AAA athe top of leagues with a revolving door on the locker room. I dont think our system is that bad. Good coaching and a winning attitude go a long way. Its funny how fast players can go south when you dont have the right attitude and good coaching. Lets see what we really have in the system. Maybe good coaching helps guys like Lake and Vitters really improve. They have been floundering for a reason. If you have the will and some skill you can be trained to be productive. I manage to it everyday. It can be done.

  • OHBearCub

    Poophole… thats what we call him in my house… will sink the Cards for the next decade financially. THEY SHOULD BE SAYING THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES…. and helping him with contacting a moving company. I would buy his house if I owned the cardinals. Roses smell good until they die. He doesnt have ten years in him. Maybe 5. Whomever he ends up with is screwed on the second half of that contract. His salary is 3 really good players in todays market. I dont want him unless he gets a new birth certificate saying he is 21. LOL

  • Boog

    So much for that….

    @TimBrownYahoo Source: Pujols will sign with Angels for 10 years for between $250 and $260 million. Full no-trade. Pujols decided Thursday morning.

    • Kyle

      I was definitely in the “Cubs should be in on Pujols” camp, but not for that much.

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