Pujols, Marlins to meet

The wooing of Albert Pujols is about to get under way in earnest.

An industry source told MLB.com on Thursday that Pujols’ camp is scheduled to meet in Miami with the Florida Marlins within the next few days, possibly as early as Saturday. Pujols is a free agent for the first time after he and the Cardinals were unable to reach an agreement last winter.

Pujols, 31, is the biggest name free agent on the market this winter, but one of several that Florida (soon to be Miami) is considering. The Marlins move into a new ballpark next season, and their payroll is expected to increase dramatically.

They have already met with Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes, and a Marlins contingent traveled to the Dominican Republic to see Cuban outfielder Yoennis Cespedes this week as well. The Marlins have Gaby Sanchez at first base, but Pujols is the kind of unique talent who could certainly cause a team to rethink what it has in-house.

The Cardinals are busy trying to hire a manager, and have wrapped up a first (and possibly only) round of interviews with six candidates. But general manager John Mozeliak said Wednesday that the manager search has not kept him from working on other matters, such as player personnel. It’s not known whether Pujols and the Cardinals have had any substantive conversations since the World Series ended.

–Matthew Leach

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