Albert Pujols may not be a Miami Marlin by the time he wakes up Wednesday morning. But the team expects a resolution to its bid to sign Pujols, one way or the other, in the next few hours, sources told ESPN.com Tuesday night.
The Marlins have pressed Pujols and his agent, Dan Lozano, for an answer on their latest 10-year offer, sources said. Meanwhile, Lozano was continuing to talk with the Cardinals, who have an offer of their own on the table.
Baseball sources told ESPN the Magazine's Buster Olney earlier Tuesday the Marlins made a 10-year offer to Pujols, though it is unclear what the monetary figure of the offer is. Another key question is whether the Marlins would agree to include a no-trade clause in their offer. The club did not offer shortstop Jose Reyes such a clause, which Pujols had with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Marlins' latest offer is an increase from the nine-year proposal made in their first meeting with Lozano.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs spoke to Lozano on Monday and made a qualifying offer to Pujols, according to reports.
Lozano has met with the Marlins and Cardinals multiple times in the last two days. And the Cubs' reported offer is believed to be for significantly fewer years and dollars.
The Marlins have approached Pujols much like the way they aggressively pursued Reyes over the weekend in an attempt either to sign the 32-year-old first baseman or move on. Sources said they were trying to determine, once and for all, whether Pujols had serious interest in playing in Miami, or whether he was using the Marlins' offer to increase pressure on the Cardinals to up their own offer.
If the Marlins do get Pujols to agree, they would look to trade first baseman Gaby Sanchez for a starting pitcher. If talks break down with Pujols, they would turn their attention to the free agent starting pitching market. They've spoken extensively with the agents for both Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson, and brought both to Florida for tours of their new ballpark.
Jayson Stark is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney contributed to this report.