The Cardinals met with Albert Pujols’ agent today

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Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told reporters that he met with Albert Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano today, according to B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com.

Mozeliak wouldn’t classify the talks as “negotiations” and cautioned that he doesn’t intend to provide regular updates to the media in regards to a contract extension.

“This is not going to be negotiated in the media,” Mozeliak said. “When and why things happen, I think both Dan and I would like to keep that private and confidential. I think that’s how we’ll proceed. You’re not going to get a play-by-play and we’re not going to announce if we’re talking or not. At some point if we feel there needs to be a public statement and we both agree on it, then we’ll do it.”

“Rather than me be coy every time you guys ask, just understand that’s his request and I’m perfectly happy working under those conditions. If we have a chance to do something, it just makes more sense to do it confidentially.”

Mozeliak has previously indicated that he hopes to get something done before Christmas, so if all goes well, the next time we’ll hear about this situation from either the team or Pujols’ representatives is when they are ready to make an official announcement on an extension. Pujols is obviously in his own stratosphere, but Cardinals fans have to feel good about Adrian Gonzalez’s pending contract extension with the Red Sox, as it seemingly takes one potential suitor out of the bidding.

Free agent market slow, but players who have signed have exceeded expectations

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The winter meetings are near the end — many execs are leaving Vegas tonight — and once again, the free agent market has moved rather slowly. Last year’s free agent market was perhaps the slowest in recent memory. This offseason, only 11 multi-year contracts have been signed by free agents to date. Six have been for two years, three have been for three years, one for four years, and one for six years.

Despite another slowly-moving free agent market, the players are optimistic because those that have signed contracts have exceeded expectations in terms of total value, per Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal. Patrick Corbin got $140 million, Nathan Eovaldi got $68 million, Andrew McCutchen got $50 million. Heck, even Lance Lynn coming off of a bad year got $30 million from the Rangers.

For comparison, as the offseason began, Fancred’s insider Jon Heyman (and an unnamed “expert”) made predictions about what the various free agent markets would get. Heyman and the expert predicted $100 million and $85 million, respectively, for Corbin, who got $140 million. They predicted $45 million and $64 million, respectively, for Eovaldi, who got $68 million. And they foresaw $39 million and $60 million for McCutchen, who got $50 million. Heyman predicted Charlie Morton would take the $17.9 million qualifying offer and the expert predicted he’d sign a one-year, $17 million deal. Morton got two years and $30 million. Heyman predicted 2/$16M for Lance Lynn and the expert only went a million higher at 2/$17M. He got 3/$30M.

Heyman isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so let’s also glance at the predictions from MLB Trade Rumors. 6/$129M for Corbin, 4/$60M for Eovaldi, 3/$45M for McCutchen, 2/$32M for Morton, and 2/$16M for Lynn. MLBTR hit a lot closer to the center of the dartboard, so to speak, but generally the players still got a bit more than anticipated, which is good, and justifies the optimism. Hopefully the trend continues over the coming two or three months.

Going forward, though, we probably should adjust our expectations of the winter meetings. Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times brought up a great point, tweeting, “One problem with the Winter Meetings is they are still marketed as a news-making event at a time when executives no longer feel urgency to make news at said event.” All of the execs and journalists have access to one another via cell phones, so it’s become more of a hobnobbing event than a place to wheel and deal. These days, a deal could just as easily happen in the days leading up to or following the winter meetings. Maybe it’s just the new normal that we’ll be going into February with handfuls of free agents still looking for a new home.