DALLAS -- Just as Ozzie Guillen was telling us he'd bat Albert Pujols in the cleanup spot if Marlins sign him, owner Jeffrey Loria and his front office posse whisked past for a meeting with the superstar's agent, Dan Lozano.
This could be it, folks. While neither Loria nor team president David Samson would confirm the meeting with Lozano as they made their way through the lobby of the Hilton, Samson indicated a decision could be forthcoming within hours.
The Marlins have reportedly offered Pujols a 10-year contract for MORE than $200 million. And the St. Louis Post-Disptach reported that the two sides have figured out a way to work around the player's insistence on no-trade protection and the Marlins' policy against granting such protection.
Meanwhile, Guillen was holding court in the lobby, laying out his lineup if Pujols gets signed. Here it is: Jose Reyes ss, Emilio Bonifacio cf, Hanley Ramirez 3b, Pujols 1b, Mike Stanton rf, Logan Morrison lf, Omar Infante 2b, John Buck c and the pitcher.
Guillen also addressed the situation with Ramirez's move to third base.
"It's for the ballclub and he's going to be a better player with those two guys hitting in front of him. I think having this kid at third base, we're a better ballclub. He's a little bit upset about it? I don't blame him. I would be, too. But moving him to third, he's going to be fresh. He's going to take care of himself a little bit better, because shortstop moving all over the place. I don't expect him to be no Gold Glove out there."
Guillen said he has spoken to Ramirez previously about the possibility of moving to third base, but not since the news broke about the Reyes signing because "right now, it's too fresh."
"This ballclub is Hanley's club. Whoever we bring aboard is to help him and the ballclub. This still is Hanley Ramirez's club. I don't care who's coming aboard. It's Hanley's club. I hope he understands our situation....Like people say he's upset. No *#@%. I don't blame him. He has a right to be upset. He's a human being. He was a shortstop."
Guillen brought laughter when he referenced a play from two seasons back that landed Ramirez in the dugout, when he loafed after the ball after accidently kicking it into the outfield. On why moving to third might relieve Ramirez of the worries that come with playing shortstop, Guillen replied:
"Shortstop you have to worry about a lot of things. He don't have to chase balls in the outfield, kicking."