DALLAS -- For weeks, the Marlins made an aggressive and sincere push to acquire Albert Pujols.
The quest to acquire the superstar slugger came to an end on Wednesday, when talks broke off between the Marlins and Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano. On Thursday morning, an MLB.com source confirmed that Pujols accepted a 10-year deal with the Angels.
Marlins president David Samson confirmed at the Winter Meetings on Wednesday night that the team would not be getting Pujols on the day it officially announced the signing of All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes.
The Marlins have enjoyed a memorable few days in Dallas. Along with adding Reyes, they announced the signing of free-agent closer Heath Bell. The club also reached agreement on a four-year, $58 million deal with lefty Mark Buehrle on Wednesday.
"I have great respect for the process," Samson said of the courtship of Pujols. "We could not be happier with Jose Reyes on this team with Heath Bell. When we drew up our offseason plan and how we wanted our team look, we are in the 'A Box' right now."
The Cardinals, antsy not to lose one of the greatest players of any era, reportedly upped their ante to about $220 million over 10 years.
The Marlins had a 10-year offer on the table, said to be more than $200 million, and perhaps in the $220 million range. And then late on Tuesday came word that a "mystery third team" joined the equation. Speculation is the Angels, or possibly the Cubs, are making an end-around pass at Pujols.
Internally, the Marlins previously had a quiet confidence that they would land the services of Pujols before the Winter Meetings conclude on Thursday. After all, the team had numerous talks with Lozano, and a few weeks back, Pujols visited Miami and toured the flashy new ballpark in the Little Havana section of town.
After meeting with Pujols throughout the day on Tuesday, the Marlins wanted resolution so they could push forward to alternative plans.
The Marlins are actively pursuing pitching, and they continue to have interest in left-handed pitcher C.J. Wilson. For now, making a run at Prince Fielder is a back-burner issue.
In a division in which the Phillies sport a rotation that includes Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, the Marlins want an offense capable of posting big innings every night.
Miami has envisioned either Pujols or Fielder providing protection for Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.