Dallas, TX – As we reflect back on these Winter Meetings from Dallas there really isn't much debate as to who the winners were.
The Miami Marlins kicked off these proceedings on Sunday by agreeing to a six- year deal with Jose Reyes. They then introduced closer Heath Bell on Monday and began to put one of the all-time great full court presses on for Albert Pujols.
Well, they came up short with Pujols, but wasted little time in formulating a Plan B, as they quickly turned their attention to left-handers Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson.
They locked Buehrle up with a four-year, $58 million deal, reuniting him with manager Ozzie Guillen, and as I write this Thursday morning the Marlins are right in the thick of landing Wilson.
For those keeping score that is $191 million guaranteed that they have handed out this week. And that's not including the $80 million or so they may give Wilson.
All this from a team that just two years ago had the lowest payroll in the National League, had a fan base that could care less, and not to mention a terrible stadium situation in which they earned zero revenue from luxury boxes or signage.
Now they are set to begin play in a state-of-the-art ballpark with a legitimate shot at a playoff spot in 2012. Now how they came about that new stadium may draw some concerns, but that is going to be a story for down the road.
The big question is, will the fans come?
Less than 10 years after Texas owner Tom Hicks gave Alex Rodriguez an unheard of 10-year, $250 million deal he went into bankruptcy and had to sell the team. Was it all the Rodriguez signing? No, of course not, but it didn't help. Then again the Yankees spent like drunken sailors on three players in 2009 and it translated into a World Series.
But, that's what the Yankees do. They are able to withstand a few $50 million hiccups. Most teams can't. Florida can't.
Either way it's going to be fun in South Beach this summer.
Now back to Pujols, who appears no closer to finding a home than he did at the start of these meetings.
We know this: The Marlins are definitely out. At least we think so anyway. Would anyone be surprised at this point if they get back in it?
The St. Louis Cardinals are still the leaders in the clubhouse as they always have been. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have now entered the fray with a 10-year deal north of $200 million. Plus there is supposedly a third mystery team that also has a $200 million deal on the table.
Reports on Wednesday stated that the Cards had offered 10 years for at least $220 million. Now if that was the case why wouldn't Pujols have signed by now? Well because it appears that was never their offer, which is why teams like the Angels and whomever are still alive here.
The mystery team? I have no idea. Most people assume its the Chicago Cubs, but I'm going to go a different route. How about the Boston Red Sox? Yea they have Adrian Gonzalez, but his comments at the end of last season ruffled some in the organization, leaving some to question his makeup.
Is it so crazy to think the Red Sox could sign Pujols and deal Gonzalez?
Maybe I just need to get out of this media room.