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Albert Pujols, nine-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove award winner, and three-time National League Most Valuable Player has finally hit the open market as a free agent, and the new-look Marlins are not wasting any time in being the first to enter what should be the largest bidding war in MLB history for his services.
To baseball fans, Pujols’ availability could seem almost as attractive and massive as Miami Heat forward LeBron James’ free agency last summer. Just like James, it appears possible that Pujols could also end up “bringing his talents to South Beach” for years to come.
The Marlins made the first move in their attempt to permanently bring Pujols there on Friday when he met with the organization at their brand new ball park where, according to si.com, they were the first team to make him a contract offer this offseason.
“Miami is a magnet – the city, the manager, the new ballpark, the players we have. We have a terrific core here. All of it put together is the magnet,” Jeffrey Loria, Miami Marlins owner.
This is the message that Loria was attempting to send Pujols on Friday when team officials had lunch with the man recognized as the greatest player in all of baseball. This occurred during a busy week when the team also met with free agents Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes.
They also gave Pujols his own personal tour of their new stadium, a modern-day ballpark with a retractable roof that they can call their own. They shared their previous stadium with the Miami Dolphins. Once they made their impression, they allegedly offered him a contract, although mlb.com reports that the Marlins will not confirm doing so.
If they did offer him a deal, one would believe that it has to be somewhere in the neighborhood of ten years and $300 million. The Marlins are looking to become serious contenders in the N.L. East – a division that the Philadelphia Phillies have won every year since 2007. They also have not made the postseason since 2003, the year they won the World Series over the Yankees in six games.
“Now we look forward to a new era. It’s a new page. I’m excited. There are absolutely are no limits to try and see what can be done,” Loria said. Miami began making transitions towards building a new culture back in September when they acquired new manager Ozzie Guillen back in September in a deal with his former team, the Chicago White Sox.
Now the Marlins seek to continue by signing another big name like Pujols. Most people believed that Pujols would test free agency after not agreeing to a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals before spring training.
Well after winning his second World Series since 2006 with the club this past year and after seeing his future Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa retire shortly after, the popular belief seems to be that Pujols has every reason to not only test the waters, but to actually sign with another team. The Miami Marlins would certainly hope so.