DALLAS -- A crazy scene just played out in the lobby of the Hilton Anatole. Reporters chased after Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and front office execs Larry Beinfest and Mike Hill when the trio-- all suited up in their Sunday best -- walked off an elevator, hustled through a horde of people, and brushed aside questions as they hurried to get to another elevator.
"Don't have time right now," Beinfest said, deflecting questions. "We have a meeting."
Just confirmed that the 30- to 45-minute meeting was with Dan Lozano, agent for Albert Pujols. The Marlins remain hopeful that they can somehow sign the megastar. But they are in competition with the Cubs and Cardinals for the first baseman. The Cubs met with Lozano before the Marlins sat down with the agent. The Cardinals are due to meet with him later this afternoon.
Loria, Beinfest and Hill refused to discuss how the meeting went, or even that it was with Lozano to discuss Pujols. There is little question, though, that the Marlins mean business. They've agreed to terms on a 6-year-deal with shortstop Jose Reyes and have a press conference scheduled within the hour to formally introduce Heath Bell as the team's new closer.
Reyes and Heath represent a total salary commitment of $133 million. It could take $200 million just to sign Pujols, and the Marlins would likely have to structure his contract creatively if they have any chance of signing him. It's interesting to note, though, that the Marlins were one of the select few teams that he would allow a trade to back when he had a limited, no-trade contract with the Cardinals.
There's at least one Marlins player rooting for the team to sign Pujols. After emerging from athroscopic surgery on his right knee on Monday, outfielder Logan Morrison tweeted the following: "Out of surgery. Everything went well. Have we signed Pujols yet?"
Meanwhile, word leaked out that Jose Reyes, who agreed to a 6-year deal with the Marlins on Sunday, has a room waiting for him at the Hilton, an indication the Marlins could be planning the official announcement about his signing within the next couple of days.
And, moments ago, closer Heath Bell arrived at the Hilton and made it official, putting signature to paper on a 3-year deal paying him $27 million. A press conference is scheduled for 2:30 pm. CST. That press conference is being carried live on the MLB Network at 3:30 p.m. EST.