Albert Pujols

UPDATE: Angels, mystery team make run at Albert Pujols

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2:30 a.m. EST update: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that no decision from Pujols will come in before the Winter Meetings conclude Thursday. Again, if you missed it, Pujols is believed to be deciding on similar 10-year offers from the Angels and Cardinals, as well as a possible offer from a mystery team (perhaps the Cubs). The Angels and Cardinals are both believed to be in the $200 million-$220 million range.

12:27 a.m. EST update: According to Nightengale, the Angels made a 10-year offer to Pujols on Wednesday worth more than $210 million.

10:50 p.m. EST update: Rosenthal says he can’t confirm that the Cubs are the third team in with the Cardinals and Angels. The Cards are quiet, with GM John Mozeliak saying he has “nothing to share” and declining comment on all topics.

10:40 p.m. EST update: There was a lot of truth to Bob Nightengale’s report, apparently. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and Yahoo’s Tim Brown are reporting that the Angels are “in strong” on Pujols.

Rosenthal says there’s also a third unidentified club in the mix with the Cardinals and Angels. Since he doesn’t name the Cubs, it’s possible there’s another suitor.

7:20 p.m. EST update: Jon Heyman is feeling feisty tonight. He says that Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, “might have to come up with a new ‘mystery’ team to use against the Cardinals” if C.J. Wilson signs with the Angels as expected.

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Even though the Marlins pulled their 10-year proposal after being told they were out of the mix, Albert Pujols still has three offers worth $200 million or more on the table, USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports.

It contradicts a lot of the info that’s out there, but given that Nightengale has been on top of the Pujols saga since the first baseman and the Cardinals were negotiating last winter, his report is not to be taken lightly.

ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick is also reporting that Pujols is negotiating with clubs other than the Cardinals. And he did use the plural, so he doesn’t just mean the Cubs.

The consensus is that Pujols will return to the Cardinals, with Bill Madden reporting earlier that the two sides were merely “a few million dollars apart” on a 10-year contract. The general belief is that they’re offering $20 million-$22 million per year in their proposal. The Cubs may well be in the $25 million-$30 million range, but they weren’t wanting to commit for longer than five or six years.

If there’s a third big offer out there, it might have come from the Angels or Rangers. That’s just speculation, though.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.