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Pujols Talks Heat Up the Stove

When last we saw our heroes, the St. Louis Cardinals, the villainous Jeffrey Loria had left them dangling over a pit of "10-year, $200+ million" acid before snapping his fingers and disappearing with his smiley henchmen to the Marlins' undoubtedly garishly decorated Winter Meetings lair. However, the Marlins have refused to include a no-trade clause in their contract offer, which Pujols reportedly desires. The Post-Dispatch reports:

Pujols has let it be known that he is available to travel to Dallas and engage in the process if a deal is near or his presence required.

As of this writing, there have been no reports of a Pujols sighting at the Winter Meetings despite the pace of Lozano's contract negotiations picking up.
Curiously, Jon Heyman has tweeted a series of tweets based on the premise that the Cardinals remain the favorites to sign the free agent first baseman. First, a morsel from an "acquaintance" of Pujols, that the Marlins must top any Cardinals offer by $40 million to win the bidding for Pujols's services. Then Heyman tweeted that it was difficult to see Pujols leaving the Cardinals for an "extra $20 million" because he has his home, restaurants, and charity in St. Louis before adding that "one agent" said $250 million gave Miami "hope." Lastly, Heyman tweeted that a Pujols "confidant" (which is apparently closer to Pujols than an "acquaintance") suggested that Pujols will give the Cardinals "every opportunity" to bring him back but that the Marlins were giving it "a great go."

Lastly, Joel Sherman tweets this bit of intrigue:

#Marlins could push Pujols camp for quick answer because if they ever publicly pull out, Lozano would lose all leverage with #Cardinals

Mind the stove, friends, for it is piping hot.