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Marlins withdraw offer for Pujols
DALLAS -- It is the new image of baseball's moneyed elite: For the second time in three days, the Miami Marlins walked up to the winter meetings podium to introduce a high-priced free agent while working doggedly behind the scenes to bring more sparkling stars to baseball's newest ballpark.
The Marlins, who are dominating the market under art dealer-owner Jeffrey Loria, increased their spending spree to $191 million in less than a week, agreeing Wednesday to a $58 million, four-year contract with left-hander Mark Buehrle just hours after finalizing a deal with All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes.
"Now how about three more?" new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Hey, you shoot for the moon, just in case."
Quite a turnabout for a team that had the major leagues' lowest payroll in 2006.
"The minnows have become Marlins," agent Scott Boras said.
With Albert Pujols unwilling to accept their $200 million-plus proposal, the if-you've-got-it-flaunt-it Marlins turned their attention to pitching in an effort to get off to a quick start in April at their $515 million, retractable-roof stadium. It never has been clear that the three-time NL MVP, coming off his second World Series title in six seasons, would be willing to leave the St. Louis Cardinals.
"I'm hoping they keep the other animal in St. Louis," said former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, now skipper of the NL East rival Atlanta Braves.
Marlins president David Samson said the team had withdrawn its offer to Pujols. And while the first baseman still had not announced a decision, there were other moves on the third day of the four-day session.
Colorado traded closer Huston Street to San Diego for a player to be named and cash, Minnesota finalized a $4.75 million deal with closer Matt Capps and Pittsburgh completed agreements with left-hander Eric Bedard ($4.5 million) and outfielder Nate McLouth ($1.75 million). The Pirates also acquired infielder Yamaico Navarro from the Kansas City Royals for a pair of minor leaguers.
San Francisco finalized a trade to obtain outfielder Angel Pagan and a player to be named or cash from the New York Mets for outfielder Andres Torres and right-hander Ramon Ramirez.
The New York Yankees, unusually quiet at the annual gathering, won negotiating rights to shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima of the Seibu Lions in Japan's Pacific League. They would pay the Lions a posting fee of about $2 million if they sign him within 30 days.
In the evening, about two dozen free agents offered salary arbitration last month had to decide whether to accept by the 11 p.m. deadline. Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz was expected to accept.
Texas general manager Jon Daniels sounded resigned to losing ace C.J. Wilson, another pitcher Miami had pursued.
"I haven't received a call to say he's chosen to go elsewhere, but we're prepared for that call," Daniels said.
Guillen and Buehrle were together on the Chicago White Sox this season, when the 32-year-old pitcher went 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA.