Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cardinals Fans to God: "You’re Kidding, Right?"

UPDATE (2/9/2011 at 7:22 p.m.):  According to SI's Jon Heyman, there is "virtually no chance" of the Cardinals and Pujols coming to terms before the February 16th deadline.  The two sides are still incredibly far apart with Pujols looking for 10/$275M, while the Cardinals are looking to keep it at six or seven years.  

Original Post (2/9/2011 at 4:37 p.m.):  Do you remember the Albert Pujols contract “Dooms Day” clock I linked to this past weekend?  Well, it looks like we may have to take whatever time is remaining on that clock, and subtract three full days. 

According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, Albert Pujols will be reporting to Spring Training on February 16th, not February 19th as originally expected.  For you math majors out there, that leaves the Cardinals with only six days to negotiate a contract with Pujols.  Otherwise, he’ll become a free agent after the end of the season.  As I’m sure you can imagine, just knowing Pujols could possibly become a free agent has Cardinals fans so nervous they’re biting their fingernails down to the cuticle.  After reading Brown’s article, they’ll probably transition from biting their fingernails, and move to lighting their hair on fire.

“All indications suggest that Pujols and the team that drafted him a dozen years ago are not close to an agreement, and that eight days won’t be time enough to negotiate and consummate not only the richest contract in club history, but possibly the richest in the history of the game. As of the weekend, the Cardinals hadn’t made a concrete offer.”

So let me get this straight.  The Cardinals have been negotiating with Pujols on and off since last winter, and still haven’t made him a “concrete offer”?  Really?  What are they doing?  Biding their time?  I don’t get it.  It makes me wonder if the Cardinals are really taking these negotiations seriously.

Also, I have to ask.  How did this information get leaked?  Didn’t Dan Lozano (Pujols’s agent) and Cardinals CEO Bill Dewitt make a pact to keep the negotiations private?  Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk had an interesting take on the situation.
"As Brown notes, Pujols has issued a virtual fatwah on negotiations through the media.  The Cardinals have said a bit more here and there. But this news — no offer made — doesn’t exactly help the Cardinals in the court of public opinion, so I question whether that would have come from them. It might help Pujols though. Probably would, actually, if fans get mad because they think the team isn’t making a hard push to lock up the best player most of them have ever cheered for.  Makes me wonder if Pujols — or his agent —  has changed tactics and is starting to leak a bit.  And if so, does that mean that the conversations between the sides have gotten rough?"
If Craig's right, and he frequently is about these kinds of things, the Pujols negotiations are about to get all Derek Jeter uncomfortable up in here.  That's never a good thing.  Well, unless you're a blogger, and then it's the greatest thing in the world.

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