DALLAS — Good morning from Day 3 of the 2011 winter meetings where Pujols-watch is still in full swing. According to reports, the “Mystery Team” that jumped into the bidding (and rumors) late Tuesday night is out. It’s either going to be Cardinals or Marlins for Albert Pujols and the decision could hold up the rest of the free agent market.
For example, the Marlins, who are waiting on Pujols’ decision before they move on to the rest of their free agent targets (though how many more of them could there be?) are also interested in starting pitching. Mark Buehrle, C.J. Wilson and the like have appeared in reports of the Marlins’ wish list and they too could be waiting for a final offer (or any offer) from the Marlins — which would depend on how much cash they have left to spend.
In the meantime, the Nationals, who are one of Buehrle’s final five potential teams and see him as their top target, wait and work on what they can.
We’ll keep it up updated here as often as possible with the rumblings today — which wouldn’t need too much action to become the busiest day of the winter meetings.
11:15 a.m. (CT) - Jose Reyes is being introduced at a press conference in Dallas right now.
It’s a six-year contract with a club option. Marlins officials said signing Reyes is a lot more fun than facing him 18 times a year.
“We have, or at least we think we have, transformed our offense into one of the best in the National League East,” said Marlins President Larry Beinfest.
We’ll see if it’s going to get even better if/when Pujols makes a decision. FoxSports.com is reporting that a St. Louis source told him there’s “A good chance, one way or the other, that we get a resolution today.”
11:20 a.m. (CT) - Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times is reporting that the Angels are still very much a favorite to land local boy C.J. Wilson — but they are not one of the final five teams in the running for Mark Buehrle. So far only the Marlins and the Nationals have been identified as a part of that “final five” group.
FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is also hearing that the Nationals have inquired about A’s pitcher Gio Gonzalez — a 26-year-old lefty the A’s have made clear they’re shopping and have no lack of suitors for him. This is pure speculation but I’d have a hard time seeing Washington give up anything incredibly substantial for Gonzalez because the Nationals have a lot of young pitching in their own system. However, Rizzo told us on Tuesday that the Nationals would trade from their prospect depth and if the A’s (who are not looking for anything that will increase payroll) could be inclined to bank of the future talent. Gonzalez is also a left-hander, something the Nationals have made clear they’re looking for.
11:45 a.m. (CT) - According to a source with knowledge of the discussions, the Mark Buehrle talks are heating up and he’s cut it down to three teams. The Nationals are still in it and Buehrle could make a decision before teams leave Dallas tomorrow. From what I’ve heard from multiple sources, the offers he’s gotten are all pretty similar. Now it’s just a matter of him deciding where it is he wants to be.
1:45 p.m. (CT) - We just wrapped up the annual luncheon with manager Davey Johnson, a nice event that’s purely social and allows the beat corps to spend some time just chatting with their managers.
Before I head back to the lobby I wanted to pass along this note: Gio Gonzalez of the A’s has been a hot commodity here at the winter meetings with the A’s making it known they’re willing to move him — but asking a lot for him. The Nationals have been reported as being one of the teams in on him. For what it’s worth, I presented his name to a Nationals source with knowledge of the team’s thinking and the source didn’t exactly jump at the idea — reacting with more surprise than anything. The line I got on it was this: Every team is kicking the tires on just about every available option. They wouldn’t be doing their jobs here if they didn’t.
The asking price for Gonzalez is said to be very high so we’ll see if anything come of it — but as I said earlier the Nationals have a stockpile of their own young pitchers so it’d be difficult to see them giving up a substantial haul for someone else’s.
— One other note: I heard from an industry source that the Nationals were indeed somewhat interested in Angel Pagan as a possible solution to center field for the short-term but were biding their time to see if the Mets would non-tender him. The Mets called to let him know he was available in a trade but Washington preferred to wait it out. Pagan was sent to San Francisco last night in exchange for Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres.