Deadspin.com blew Albert Pujols' agent out of the water early this week. If you haven't read the full article, (LINK HERE) please do so. Be warned, it's graphic and troubling.
The big revelations?
+ Why was Pujols' last contract so bad? And why didn't he test the free agent market last time? Lozano was reportedly close to bankrupt and needed that commission to stay solvent.
+ Lozano is "The King Of Sleaze Mountain" or at least described as such by other agents. Photos of him performing oral sex on women that he then sent to players for approval seem to be legit.
+ He ran an undercover prostitution ring that closed deals with players.
+ He's acting as a man of faith, just to please Pujols.
The list goes on and it's as seedy as it sounds.
Now anyone that's been in or around the sports agent business will tell you it's a dirty job. After all, what would you have wanted if you were a 20 year old single man with millions of dollars coming your way? For every guy like Pujols who's a devout Christian who is concerned about his charitable efforts and faithful to his wife... there are 100 guys like you were in college, looking to party and get laid.
Add to this the X-Factor - that players can drop agents when they want, with little to no penalty, and now you've got a situation ripe for a 'plain manilla envelope' to show up at every sports site on the internet with salacious gossip and rumors and sometimes evidence. You're not just battling the kids or the kids circle of friends and family, but you're also having to watch your back from other agents stealing business.
With that in mind, this packet of information most certainly came from another agent. Someone with something to gain (Pujols, perhaps?) by making this a news story. We should remember that.
It doesn't mean that Dan Lozano is making Pujols out as his golden goose. Pujols doesn't need Lozano. Lozano needs Pujols, probably now more than ever. Imagine Albert dropping Dan in this, his moment, because of this scandal. Lozano would have a very hard time overcoming that, at least in the short term.
Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch has been in contact briefly with Pujols and he's reported that Lozano is still his agent and will be for the immediate future. A cadre of rumors, albeit less well reported, have been run by Albert from time to time the past couple of years and he's brushed them back with little to no comment.
That's probably the most unsettling of this whole Pujols negotiation with the Cardinals.
1. Is Lozano going to be out to stick it to whatever team signs Pujols just to make a point that he didn't screw his client the first time around? Is he going to want to show up and coming superstars that Scott Boras isn't the only guy who can get top dollar for his client?
2. Speaking of Boras, is he going to wait for Fielder (Boras' client) to set the market before he really starts negotiating? How many bridges is he willing to burn to get his name in the headlines as the guy that beat Boras?
3. Is he wrecking Pujols' pretty sterling reputation in St. Louis? I mean, It's not Pujols' fault that this agent allegedly likes hookers, but at the same time, how smart is it of Pujols to let all these stories fly without having a real discussion about them with Lozano?
4. Just who is pulling the strings in the Pujols camp, anyway?
Not much STL Media has picked up on the story. KSDK did a kind of overview that included an interview with the author of the Deadspin.com piece (LINK HERE), but other than that, It looks like this is kind of an afterthought.
Probably a mistake. If anything, the Penn State scandal has proved that ignoring problems aren't going to make the situation any better. Everyone involved with Lozano better be checking their facts and asking the tough questions this off-season. And if they don't and if Lozano turns out to be everything that Deadspin reported and maybe more... then we'll have to hold Pujols accountable for enabling these actions.
This story isn't going away. It may be forgotten for a while, but it'll surface again.