UPDATE: The Marlins have improved upon their initial offer to Albert Pujols

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UPDATE II: It’s fair to say that Pujols’ agent walked away from tonight’s meeting happy. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports that the Marlins have “boosted” their nine-year offer to the free agent first baseman.

No word on the specific terms, but “one person with knowledge of the talks” said negotiations will likely play out more before a decision is reached. The Marlins’ initial reported offer was said to be for significantly less than the nine-year, $198-210 million deal offered by the Cardinals earlier this year, so this may not mean a lot yet.

UPDATE: Jayson Stark of ESPN.com confirms that the Marlins and Pujols’ agent will indeed meet again tonight.

8:03 PM: It appears that the Marlins and Dan Lozano, the agent for Albert Pujols, are already setting up another meeting, having met already once this afternoon.

The Cardinals, too, are due to meet again with Lozano. According to Newsday’s Ken Davidoff, they view the Marlins as a real threat to land the three-time MVP.

St. Louis isn’t known to have made a new offer to Pujols since he turned down a nine-year, $198 million extension in January, and reports indicate that they’re not willing to go much higher now. While $200 million sounds nice, the $22 million per year would put Pujols behind Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Howard, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Joe Mauer, Johan Santana and Mark Teixeira in terms of annual salary.

Despite having already spent $106 million on Jose Reyes and $27 million on Heath Bell, the Marlins look like legitimate suitors for Pujols. They’d certainly have to eclipse the Cardinals’ offer to have a shot, but as much as Pujols is believed to enjoy playing in St. Louis, he may not take kindly to the perceived lack of respect being displayed in contract negotations. Pujols has never come close to earning what he’s worth, and while it’s true that the Cardinals don’t rake in dollars like the Yankees and Red Sox, they did outbid everyone for a premier talent in Matt Holliday two years ago.

Dodgers, Reds discussing a Yasiel Puig trade

Yasiel Puig
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Here’s a rumor from yesterday afternoon that sort of fell through the cracks, but it’s fun enough to think about for a few moments: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers and Reds have had “multiple” trade discussions involving Yasiel Puig.

Puig is a potential trade candidate, either (a) because he’s “disgruntled,” according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times last week; or (b) because the Dodgers want to clear salary and roster spots in order to sign a big-name player, according to Rosenthal here. Many people suspect that the Dodgers are going to make a run at Bryce Harper, for example, and if that’s the case they’d no doubt want to open up right field for him.

It seems questionable that any Reds-Dodgers talks would get a ton of traction, especially given that Rosenthal reports that there’s a possibility of the Dodgers taking on Reds pitcher Homer Bailey and the $28 million he’s still owed in order to get some talent back from the Reds in a trade. That would seem to defeat the purpose of unloading Puig’s salary, but this is the sort of things we all talk about now given that the league has, more or less, a defacto salary cap imposed by the Competitive Balance Tax.