SocraticGadfly: I thought Bernie Miklasz was better than this

January 19, 2011

I thought Bernie Miklasz was better than this

Other St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports staff, I expect to be "fluffers" of St. Louis Cardinals management on Albert Pujols contract talks.

Joe Strauss has been a suck-up in just the past week, in fact.

But I expected better from Bernie Miklasz, the best columnist at the P-D sports desk.

And now I'm hugely disappointed. Bernie tells Pujols "forget your deadlines."
If Pujols and agent Dan Lozano are serious about following through with this stance, if they remain rigid in enforcing it, then it makes them look unreasonable.

Even if part of the deadline issue is Pujols trying to manage PR, nonetheless, it's nothing new from him this year.

That said, speaking of "years," Bernie was equal-opportunity, chastising owner Bill DeWitt and GM John Mozeliak for wasting the previous two offseasons, or at least the previous one, after Ryan Howard got his new Phillies contract.

And, he also notes that Billy D. and Big John have lacked negotiating savvy in the recent past:
(W)e certainly have to point out that DeWitt and Mozeliak added to the market inflation by signing outfielder Matt Holliday to a seven-year deal worth $120 million last offseason, absent long-term offers to Holliday from other teams.

Bernies also points out that, in DeWitt's case, it runs in the family blood or DNA:
In Cincinnati, DeWitt's father, Bill Sr., attained baseball infamy by being the executive who traded Frank Robinson to Baltimore. In his first season (1966) with the Orioles, Robinson won the Triple Crown. And the Orioles won the World Series.

Back to your chastisement of Pujols, though, Bernie.
But if Pujols and Lozano are absolute in sticking with this spring-training deadline, they aren't being fair. They're needlessly drawing a line.

How long did it take the ownership-management dynamic duo to sign Holliday? Oh, about two months, if not less. So, why should Pujols retreat from his window?

You're just wrong on this.

The deal is, at least to me, Bernie, it seems clear that despite Pujols disavowals, Billy D. and Big John are still banking on a "hometown discount."

Pujols has said the deadline is for the good of the team.

Meanwhile, DeWitt is coming perilously close to whistling in the dark:
No deal by the start of spring training would not necessarily mean Pujols will be moving on. The Cardinals could sign him after next season and DeWitt expressed confidence that Pujols would not let it affect him on the field.

"If we don't sign him in the next four weeks, that doesn't mean he's not going to be a Cardinal," DeWitt said. "We'd love to sign him tomorrow, or whenever."

"Whenever"? As Pujols himself noted, the media's had this story to kick around for two years, because you've done nothing for two years toward resigning him!

At the same time, Bernie does nail Pujols and agent Dan Lozano:
Pujols and Lozano must think everyone is naïve.

Here's what they don't want to tell you: By enforcing this spring-training deadline, Pujols and Lozano conveniently get an advance opportunity to market Pujols' free-agent campaign.

If the Cardinals don't have an agreement in place by spring training, interested teams will be getting their finances ready in preparation of courting Pujols.

And, so, I'm guessing he's less sanguine than other P-D writers on the chance of a deal getting done.

And, all you Cards fans who want to make Prince Albert into Saint Albert?

Bernie's right there, too.

Pujols offered some additional thought himself:
Pujols noted that speculation regarding his future, and whether the Cardinals are willing to pay top dollar for the three-time NL MVP, has been swirling for several years. The Cardinals have four other players making more than $10 million a year in outfielder Matt Holliday and pitchers Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse.

"You guys have the opportunity to be writing about this over the last two years," Pujols said. "So what else is there to say? I think everybody knows I want to be a Cardinals and what else is there to say?"

Exactly. That's because DeWitt and Mozeliak have sat on their butts the past two years. And what Bernie fails to address.

It's nut-cutting time. Pure and simple.

No comments: