What seemed yesterday like a foregone conclusion has now become a fleeting fantasy. St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols is looking increasingly likely to re-sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, having successfully leveraged the Miami Marlins' reported 10-year offer worth over $200 million into a similar offer from St. Louis.
In 7 seasons with the Brewers, Fielder hit .282 while slugging .540 with 230 home runs. He also has a keen batting eye, walking in 15.5 percent of his at bats last season. While Fielder may be a bit of a step down offensively from Pujols, he is still among the most fearsome hitters in baseball. On top of that, at 27 he is a full four years younger than Pujols and is unlikely to demand a 10-year deal.
Fielder could also come cheaper than Pujols, allowing the Marlins to possibly add one of the two top starting pitchers they have been courting: Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson. ESPN.com reported Wednesday that the team's negotiations with both hurlers are "well down the road."
ESPN also mentioned that the team has told both pitchers, in addition to Pujols' representatives, that if they reach a deal with either pitcher, their pursuit of Pujols will be over.
MLB.com has reported that the team offered Wilson a six-year deal on Wednesday. Other terms of the deal have not yet come to light.
Both Buehrle and Wilson are being pursued by other teams in addition to the Marlins, but the team has shown with Jose Reyes and Pujols that they are not afraid to blow a free agent out of the water with a contract offer.
Missing out on Pujols could be a blessing in disguise for the Fish. They will miss out on adding one of the five best right-handed hitters in baseball history, but could gain the flexibility to add two top free agents for the price of one.
Regardless, if the Marlins can sign Fielder, Buehrle or Wilson, in addition to the moves they've already made, they will be among the favorites to win the National League pennant for the first time in nearly a decade.