DALLAS -- Just when you think the Marlins can't possibly make any more noise, they rattle the baseball world again. At least two sources were reporting late Monday that the Marlins, hungry to reel in the biggest fish out there, upped their offer to Albert Pujols to 10 years.
Yes, you read right. TEN years, or enough to keep the paychecks coming until he's 42. Twice they met with Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday. And they are expected to sit down with Lozano again today as they try to woo Pujols away from the Cardinals, whose fans are becoming increasingly nervous.
"Pujols is next," a trusted baseball man told me yesterday after the Marlins put a ceremonial cap and jersey top on closer Heath Bell. "And (Mark) Buehrle and (C.J.) Wilson, too. They're in big on all three. You heard it here first."
I have a REAL hard time believing that, in addition to Bell and Jose Reyes, whom they've already landed, the Marlins have the resources to unload a Brinks trunk on Pujols AND Buehrle AND Wilson. But the guy insists its possible.
Consider: with the signings of Reyes and Bell, the Marlins have already committed $70-75 million to eight players in 2012, depending on how Reyes' contract is structured. Add in another $12 to $15 million for the five arbitration players they'll likely keep (Anibal Sanchez, Emilio Bonifacio, Edward Mujica, Burke Badenhop and Chris Volstad). That brings the total to about $82-90 million. That still leaves a dozen players needed to fill out the roster. Sure, some of those (Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton, for example) remain cheap. But if you're going to add a Pujuls and his $20 million and Buehrle and his $15 million, you're talking eight zeroes, easily topping $100 million.
This is all owner Jeffrey Loria. He's calling all the shots, running the show, and -- yes -- emptying the team's coffers on pricy players they never before imagined. He's sitting in on all the meetings, with Lozano and every other agent, and making the sales pitches. He traveled to the Dominican Republic last month to eyeball Yoenis Cespdes and was in on the recent visits to South Florida by Pujols, Reyes, Buehrle and Wilson.
Someone asked Loria yesterday if he was serious about all this. His response: "I'm a serious man."
So now comes Day 2 of the winter meetings. Hold on to your seats.