I've been sitting here in front of this monitor for about 10 minutes trying to think of interesting angles to wildly react to in a cheap ploy to generate page views. But the more I thought about it, the more I realize that this is going to be the single boring-est spring training the Cardinals have ever held.
Literally every single position on the roster is filled. The most intriguing subplot is if Miguel Batista is going to be a spot starter or long reliever, pending an injury to one of the starting five. Other than that? Nada. Zip. Just a bunch of guys going through the motions until the games actually start March 30th.
So what do we need to watch for? The Blues are tanking (again) and the NFL is headed into a lockout... so what the hell are we supposed to watch?
1) TLR's wine consumption. Miggy Cabrera really upped the ante in 2011 by literally swigging scotch in front of the officer arresting him for DUI, so that falling asleep at the wheel act isn't going to cut it this spring. Is Don Tony up for the challenge or are his booze-hound days behind him.
2) Berkman's twigs. Not since Sid Bream has a pair of legs been more scrutinized in the baseball world. Are they too old to patrol right field? Will the fly off hustling out an infield hit? Could he be the slowest man in professional athletics? We shall see.
3) Franky's Tweets. The Cardinal reliever has finally found his voice. And he won't shut up. Follow him on Twitter for nightly interactions with people that are far too excited to talk to a professional athlete.
4) Theriot's harem. St. Louis hasn't seen a cocksmith this adept since 'The Stick' left town after 2009's campaign. Will he hone his game in south Florida this spring... or will he hone his GAME this spring. What. Up. Playa.
5) Kyle Lohse. Because it's never to early to start blowing leads in the 4th innning. Good times.
So maybe it won't be such a rote spring after all, eh? I guess you just need to know where to look.
And he's ready for you.
Do you believe in signs?
Because if you do, the sudden passing of Cardinals co-owner Andrew Bauer Sunday just prior to the teams first full workout of 2011 doesn’t seem to be an encouraging one.
Not to make light of the situation. By all accounts Mr. Bauer seems to have been a great member of the St. Louis community and respected part owner of the team. That being said, the Cardinals haven’t played even an intrasquad game and they’ve had 2 season-shifting stories dropped right in their laps.
It hasn’t been said much publically, but this Pujols ‘deadline’ was a complete detrimental construct of him and his agent. It’s understandable that he doesn’t want to deal with the distractions of negotiations during the season… but he’s also got to know that putting some sort of self-imposed deadline on when he will or won’t sign will also create a huge amount of drama sooner rather than later. Every single thing we saw last week? We could and probably should have seen in November.
Yet, Pujols did what he thought he needed to do. Perhaps he could have kept the ‘deadline’ under wraps as well and just let the Cardinals know his intent wasn’t to negotiate. Or better yet, tell his agent what he wants and leave it up to him to get it. When that price is met, he can sign. He doesn’t really need to know anything other than – hey, we need a signature, man. Or – hey, they didn’t come through and now you’re a free agent, man.
Common sense. It isn’t prevalent in sports.
Now the untimely passing of a co-owner again provides more drama around a team that was just getting over having to no comment the shit out of some other dudes negotiations. Which, when you think about it, kind of sucks. Would you like the press asking you about your co-worker rejecting 50 times more money than you make? These guys are professional athletes. They have massive egos. Deep down all those questions do is build resentment on some level. It’s not healthy for any team to have this situation and you can’t convince me otherwise.
And while I can’t speak on how close Mr. Bauer was to any of the Cardinals players or coaches, I can tell you that sometimes sports seasons get going in a certain direction and they don’t tend to do 180’s.
The Cardinals have overcome their fair share of death in the TLR era. And Pujols will again settle into being Pujols- so it’s not like we’re sounding the death knell for the 2011 campaign just yet.
However, the stories trending this spring aren’t ones that are good for business. We’ll see what the next piece of news that hits is…no comments
Pretty boring week, huh?
The Cardinals finally were made whole this morning when free-agent signing Lance Berkman arrived in Jupiter (not counting Jimmy Baseball, whereabouts unknown) and have yet to play even an intra-squad scrimmage… but they have produced the two biggest stories of the spring training season so far.
Stan Musial was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday at the White House. Do yourself a favor and read Bernie’s article on it (LINK HERE). Something that hasn’t been discussed with this whole deal is how one time in High School I convinced Coach Mac that Stan was featured on this Spice Girls song (LINK HERE). One of my proudest moments of my academic career.
And yes, I went to public school in KY for college.
Albert Pujols made an arbitrary deadline to sign a contract and then didn’t sign a contract. He did, however, arrive in Jupiter on Thursday and charm the ever loving pants off every reporter. Note to the Cardinals: were we really that surprised that the 100 or so media people on site wanted to talk to Pujols? Would a table and chair for the big guy been such a put-out? It’s 2011, guys. Having sidewalk circles when the ESPN boys are in town just makes everyone look like amateurs.
Also- has anybody mentioned that Pujols didn’t really need to mention he had a deadline, did he? I’d have to imagine that Shaq Vs Pujols was a bigger ‘in-season distraction’ than getting a text from your agent with the latest numbers the Cardinals are offering. But whatever.
So less than a week in, the Cardinals are going to have to work hard to top themselves in the media attention department. Perhaps Rasmus can demand a trade early? Or maybe a Miggy Cabrera, David Freese, TLR all-nighter caught TMZ style?
It’s not going to be an easy job.
Now, the Friday Links…
- The honeybadger, re-narrated. LINK HERE (h/t Lizzard)(NSFW-language)
- Frogs prepare to battle. LINK HERE
- Introducing the lame pun raccoon. LINK HERE
- And while we're at it? Business Cat. LINK HERE
- My Bad Hookup is exactly what it sounds like. LINK HERE (NSFW-language)
- Old Parked Cars is also exactly what it sounds like. LINK HERE
The CD decided to play nice with the UCB (United Cardinal Bloggers) and participate in this little experiment where this open e-mail chain circulates for a day and all the responses to my question are posted here the next day. It just so happened that yesterday was 'my day' to send out a question.
That's what I sent out and this is what I got back...
Redbird Report Says:
I think this entire situation was blown out of proportion. Anthony Castrovince wrote a nice piece on stlcardinals.com that pretty much summarizes my thoughts. It's really no surprise that this didn't get done before the deadline. But now I feel like the overwhelming notion among Cardinals fans and baseball fans is that Albert Pujols will no longer be a Cardinal. They forget that he still has a year left on his contract and there's still plenty of time for this deal to get done. As Bernie Miklasz said, this deadline was merely a checkpoint. It's time to get past the notion that this was the finish line of the Pujols talks.
I really don't feel upset about it. Maybe I've numbed myself to the situation, I don't know. But I just don't see this as as big a deal as most people do.
Pitchers Hit Eighth Says:
I'm not sure that there is a lot of venting to be done at this point for me. This contract issue is still trending in the same direction that many have expected it to go from the start. From my viewpoint, the logical conclusion has always been free agency. Lozano pretty much has to either induce panic prior to that point or push it that far to solidify his reputation as a deal maker. If anything, I'd like to vent at some of the national media folks for taking so much attention away from Musial. For people with an ounce of common sense, the deadline wasn't a huge deal, but it turned into a manufactured melodramatic piece of nonsense. This whole Pujols thing just reached about the 3rd inning, and some people are already glancing at the bullpen.
Cardinal Diamond Diaries Says:
Seeing as how I live on the ground floor of my building, can't get out the window at work and don't live near any bridges, I guess I'm not jumping. As much as people want to say it's all over now, we'll see what happens in the fall. Call me when baseball games start, because I'm ready for real news. (Angela)
No venting here, except that I'm sad to be lumped into the national-media-imposed title that all Cardinals fans are distressed and wandering around the streets of St. Louis aimlessly because of this situation. I'm not distressed...why stress about something you have absolutely no control over? It's is irresponsible for Cardinal fans to blame either side right now. We still have the 2011 season with Albert & negotiations are far from over. We just have to wait and see what happens. (Cadence)
Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Night Says:
It's just another step in the negotiating process, plain & simple. If he gets to FA'cy (and I think he should), we all might learn that no team is going to give him 10 years. We might learn that Albert was just curious what he could command all along...then, simply come "back" to St. Louis with a deal he knows to be fair, confirmed by offers from other clubs. I believe we're seeing a trend & mentioned this in a Q&A session with Mo at last month's winter warmup. Cliff Lee, Lance Berkman & Jim Thome all signed deals this off-season. What do those deals have in common? They were not the largest offer made to the player. I expect AP to stay a Cardinal forever, and to accept the club's [presumably fair & competitive] offer at the end of this season.
The worst part? It might be 350, 360 days from now before we know for sure.
Aaron Miles' Fastball Says:
Stan Musial's Stance Says:
Today's non-announcement did not surprise me either. Frankly I thought I saw this coming last year when he also set the 'no negotiations after I show up to spring training' deadline for an extension.
As far as the National Media making a firestorm out of this, well, kids gotta eat, it's really been a slow off-season (at least to my mind), and with AP anointed the best player in all of baseball (which he is) it didn't matter if he was a Pittsburgh Pirate - the national media would have descended. Yes it is frustrating that Stan Musial got very little attention nationally for his Medal of Freedom, but unfortunately Musial is much more a local icon than a national one.
Also the date of that ceremony was known a long time before Pujols/Lozano set their 15 Feb deadline. Bluntly they deserve most of the criticism for what happened over the past 3 days.
Will Pujols sign somewhere else? Only time will tell. I do believe some owner will be dumb enough to fork over 10y/$300M to AP; heck the Giants gave Barry Zito 7y/$126M. If it was so important for AP to finish his career as a Cardinal he would have re-upped by now. The Cardinals can't plan on Pujols being in Red for 2012. Mozeliak needs to have his scouting department working overtime this year so we know who to take with our 2 compensation picks next draft, not to mention finding someone to play first base next season.
Welcome To Baseball Heaven:
My real vent is with the fact “Albertageddon” or whatever overshadowed Stan’s day. Not that Albert intentionally did so but this start of spring training deadline is ridiculous. I love Albert Pujols for what he’s brought to the Cardinals and the City of St. Louis, but the way this has been handled so far is not good. Trying to avoid distraction it’s created an epic one. It’s obvious that team Pujols wants to test free agency and this manufactured deadline is the perfect alibi. I’m pretty sure Albert is more than capable of hitting balls off a tee and participating in other spring training drills while his agent negotiates. That’s what an agent’s for champ.
Regardless, it is what it is. As most of us have said I’m really not surprised he’s choosing to hit free agency. We have no idea of the terms on the table but I’m sure they’re a far cry from 10yrs/300mil. And of course SI’s Jon Heyman had the breaking news that an ‘unnamed competing executive’ believes that the Chicago F’n Cubs will indeed offer Albert that A-Rod type deal he’s looking for should he become a free agent. I’m not a fan of Jon Heyman by any means but I understand he’s just doing his job. Stir the pot to get hits on the website. Opening day can’t get here soon enough.
It would be juvenile and irresponsible to be venting over a non-event (I should probably check to make sure none of you fine bloggers are cussin' up a storm before I hit send).
Oh, there's plenty to vent about, but most of it would be in the direction of the MLB Players Association who so desperately wanted this contentious process when they lobbied for free agency in the 60s.
Since the genie is out of the bottle in the other professional sports, it is something that we all have to accept if we are to continue enjoying America's pastime.
Aaron Hooks said it perfectly yesterday, this is a negotiation. So far it has been done very professionally, and there is no reason to believe it won't continue in that manner. Every day that it does, we will learn more. We will learn about Albert's health, his ability to produce under pressure that he's never experienced over a long period, and whether or not that 10yr/$300M market actually develops.
All the passing deadlines proves is that both sides at the negotiating tables are shrewd businessmen. If a deal had been done, either the front office paid too much or Albertaccepted too little. Both sides were too smart to let that happen.
Exhale everybody, we still have another 9 months of this. Fortunately there will be at least 162 regular season games before any of this gets really serious.
Nothing to vent about. The Cardinals, in my opinion, did not sell out and give the monster contract which would have completed gutted the team for years. Let the process ride and see what happens. At least we know he is a Cardinal for 2011.
I-70 Baseball Says:
Give me that damn soapbox....
The fact that we made it to today pisses me off. No way should the best player in baseball be within sniffing distance of free agency if you want him to stay here. Deal should have been done last year, that 10 year deal starting last year doesn't look quite so bad, does it?
The team pays Albert $16 mil this year with a payroll around $100 mil. Follow me you math nerds, because this is getting to me. Payroll does not have to be at $130 mil to include Albert. If you pay him $25-30 mil, the payroll goes up $9-14 mil respectively. 100 + 9 (or 14) = 109 (114). With the contracts of Lohse and Carpenter (most likely) coming off the books in the near future, that offsets a bit. Replacing Carp may cost a few bones, but Lohse can be replaced by someone in Memphis (or even HMW) for a helluva lot cheaper (HMW will work for Dirt Cheap Gift Certificates).
At the same time, Albert needs to settle down a bit and understand that just because ARod makes whatever some dumbass wants to pay him doesn't mean that is what he needs to make. $25 mil per season should get this deal done. Give him 8 years with option years based on performance in years seven and eight. $25 mil over 8 years is $200 million (put your calculators away, I'll help you out here). Add to that his first 10 years at $104 mil and you've got 18 years of Pujols for $304 million or just south of $17 million a year. Not so bad, huh?
Albert can say to the Cardinals "I played the first 10 years well below market value", but he cannot say that to any other team in baseball. The Angels, Rangers, nor Cubs care what his first contract saved the Cardinals.
I think he ends up staying, but it's utter bull shit that it's gotten to this point.
Gas House Graphs Says:
Venting seems premature. Do I wish the Cardinals' front office would have taken a more aggressive approach at keeping the best (i.e. most consistent) hitter in the game in Saint Louis by pushing hard for a deal one or two years ago? Yes. But am I freaking out about the "deadline" that just passed? No. I wish that all media-types would humble themselves and ask, "Do I really have any clue about these negotiations? What about the 'source' that I am quoting?" I'm guessing that most of the time they really don't. Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal's report that the Cardinals offered Pujols $19-21 Mil in AAV was laughable. Rather than falling all over every so-claimed tid-bit of information leaking from the war room, I think I'd rather resign myself to the mystery of not knowing. Until these phantom "sources" morph into someone with the name Bill DeWitt, Jr., John Mozeliak, Dan Lozano, or Albert Pujols himself, take information with a grain of salt. Again, it's quite possible that both sides really are keeping a tight lid on this and everyone else is blowing smoke.
Having said that, I'm with Rui (at Gas House Graphs) in believing that there's actually a pretty rational explanation for both sides to take this thing into free agency now that it's so imminent. In short, Albert can raise his asking price by hitting the market and finding out what other teams would pay for his services. This makes sense even if he fully intends on returning to St. Louis as it would allow him to squeeze every possible last dollar out of ownership. Meanwhile, the Cardinals will also benefit from watching Albert's market develop. Either Albert learns that they had the best offer all along or they get the opportunity to match/one-up the terms being offered from other clubs. In the event Albert picks the money over the place (because I do believe that the Cardinals will offer him a fair and ginormous contract at some point), well, it was fun while it lasted.
One thing's for sure. We better enjoy this season.
Okay guys, it's not the end of the world, but - did you actually think we'd see this day? Albert has not signed his extension before spring training, and this big, polarizing issue will cloud over the Cardinals 2011 season. It's already looking like the most painful summer ever, and they haven't even signed someone off the scrap heap like Nick Punto yet. Oh.
Let's try to figure out what's going through everyone's head, and answer some questions:
Is Albert Pulling the Strings?
I think Pujols meant what he said at the Winter Warm-Up about not wanting to talk about the negotiations in public, so I'm assuming he'll address the media once on Thursday, say the same thing, and that'll be it. Lozano and Pujols have the right to play hardball, especially because they know that even if Albert re-signs eventually, it won't affect his image in the long-run. In 2014, we'll remember this was just the era before Cards Diaspora became a huge porn site success, but we'll have no recollection of these negotiations whatsoever. Remember when Holiday was a free agent, and no teams really had any interest in pursuing him? And there was nothing rumored for about a month other than Jon Heyman's "sources"? Cardinal fans were fed up with Holiday for not stepping in and getting a deal done. This is what's happening right now. There will be a time where it comes to a boiling point, and a deal gets done before the Cards Talk message boarders burn the city to the ground in Fall 2011.
Does Albert Hate Us?
Unless he's been lying for ten years, Albert loves it here. He's got a great relationship with fans and vice versa. But if he's the Dave Coulier to our Alanis Morissette next off-season, we're not gonna take the break-up very well. After the therapy, I guarantee this website will be the first to pwn him in a series of Billboard chart-toppers played on Y98.
Why Have The Cardinals Only Made One Formal Offer?
The longer this was dragging on, the more I wondered if there were actual numbers tossed around by the Cardinals, or if it was just a broad range of years and dollars? Maybe it was weekly phone calls from Bill DeWitt sounding something like "Are you guys asking for less money yet? Will you please ask for less money?...Hello?" Seriously though, this is not the approach I thought they'd take. The Cards brass has never appeared to be a go-back-and-forth over time operation. When they want one of their own signed to an extension, they sit down and hammer it out by lunch. McGwire, Rolen, and Carpenter immediately come to mind. They were so adamant about re-upping Kyle Lohse that they got a deal done before the season ended. (Who's idea was that again?) Sometime between now and the day before Albert hits free agency in November, they'll be done bluffing and get serious. The waiting sucks, but we can fill that time with more photoshop.
Is Albert Being Greedy?
There's a lot of gray area here. Is Albert being greedy in the fact that his side has thrown out a price, but will not budge? Possibly. But I wouldn't say the Cardinals really improved during the offseason, either. Had the Cardinals signed Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth - then listened to $300 million requests from Lozano, Albert would have to be punched in the face. Either way, we don't know any concrete proposal numbers though, unless you trust Jon Heyman's 8/$200-something story from Tuesday night. But let's face it - we're all down with company and co-worker loyalty, but if people paid that much to watch me do my job, and if bosses paid salaries like that, I wouldn't be a pushover either.
Does Albert Want To Go To Free Agency?
If you asked me this even a month ago, I'd have said no way. Despite what he says about today's deadline, I think Team Albert will give the Cardinals a fair chance to get a deal done in spring training, throughout the season and immediately after. So does he want to go to free agency? Probably not. Does he mind hearing massive contract offers from obscenely rich owners? Fuck no.
What are the Odds that Albert Will Pull A LeBron?
This obviously only happens if he goes to free agency, as Pujols wouldn't have a one-hour ESPN special if he was signing an extension in April. I think Albert likes attention, but I find it hard to believe that he'd go on national TV for his 'Decision.' Howevah - ESPN knows they can sucker him in by offering the Pujols Foundation a truckload of money and do it for the kids. And by "kids" I mean "everyone's wallet." That is assuming 'Albert's Decision' doesn't conflict with NFL LIve, NFL Countdown, NFL 2night, Madden Nation, Fantasy Football Live, Celebrity Flag Football, Stump the Schwab re-runs or the Ed Werder Mustache Hour of Power. ESPN has been douches in the past, and they will strive to be douches in the future. It's not a matter of "if" they'll run another 'Decision' episode, it's "who."
Plenty of real writers have gone in-depth about this whole ordeal and called it for what it is - standard athlete negotation in the year 2011. Nothing more than that. We're just not used to the drama, other than the occasional Rams rookie holdout. We like this stuff to be civil, courteous and quick, with minimal conflict and a trip to Ted Drewes after. It's not the stone-cold lock it once was, but the odds are still in the Cardinals' favor to re-sign Albert.
And hey, if nothing gets worked out - Prince Fielder anyone?
Sebek sums it up pretty nicely. LINK HERE...
The actually validness of the Grammy Awards is highly dubious (hatchet job done masterfully by Bill Wyman HERE) but at least the producers of the show have pretty much done everything possible to actually eliminate the awards and give us 3 hours of a concert. Obviously you're not going to like Miranda Lambert AND Bieber AND Bob Dylan, who graciously revived himself from the dead to sing (?). But some of the hodge podge of musical numbers can be interesting. And like I said, very little awards. There is only so many lawyers and A & R reps I want to hear thanked...
Movie Snot: 'The Art Of The Steal' -- Documentary on the Barnes Foundation, an institute in a Philadelphia suburb and home to the best collection of impressionist art anywhere in the world. Watch this film. It's got government corruption, judicial duping, social class strife, dirty laundry and a mans legacy completely disrespected. Such a good film. A- ...
This is the week. The Blues have pissed away any shot at the playoffs, so it's time for baseball. And if you haven't heard, pitchers and catchers and some guy named Pujols will be in Jupiter Florida this week playing sport. It's been a long, long winter. And St. Louis has gone without a playoff win from any team since Game 5 of the 2006 World Series. By October of 2011, that will be 5 years. Really- 5 years. Let's hope the Cardinals can get it done...
Thanks to those that have e-mailed about our comments. Frankly, they were broke. And they kind of were buggy to begin with. So starting now, if you want to leave a comment, you can sign in using your Facebook, Twitter or Livefyre account. Some more information from our site admin...
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Not that an inordinate amount of people commented on this crap in the first place, but in case you were wondering, that's the information I have...
It’s the February 11, people.
Albert Pujols and the Cardinals are taking this sucker down to the wire. And if they don’t think that his pending free-agency won’t overshadow every single thing the Cardinals do in 2011, then nativity it the word of the week.
It will be mentioned in every Pujols highlight. It will be mentioned in every Pujols article. Things will be prefaced with pending free-agent blah, blah Pujols in casual conversation. It’s going to be a trucking circus for the Cardinals in 2011.
I’m not complaining. Its endless amounts of scrutiny on every comment he makes. Its post on top of post that will exploit this drama for every ounce of juice it’s got. It’s a boondoggle and a half for everyone involved. And it just so happens that this will probably end up being the biggest story of the year, if not the decade when it’s all said and done.
And you wonder why that Cardinals crap is still on the masthead. Silly noob.
Maybe this sucker gets inked this upcoming week. My feeling has maintained steadfast that Pujols is going to go to free-agency and the Cardinals are going to leak their best offer before he can talk to other teams. At that point, they will position this as – hey we offered him 7 for 210 and he said no. If he needs more money than that, then he need to go elsewhere and he doesn’t care about STL.
That’ll probably work too. Cardinals fans will get their feelings hurt. Turn on him. Push him to the Angels or – GULP- the Cubs. And then we have our biggest story for 2012.
Actually. I’m shutting up now. I think we just might crack 20 bucks we make on this site this year.And now The Friday Links...
If you watched the Sopranos and want to know what really happened at the end. LINK HERE
The Darwin Valentine. LINK HERE
For those of you that need more reasons to hate cats. LINK HERE
Listen, you better hope you don't get chased by a fat cop. LINK HERE
He will never have a girlfriend. The complete meme. LINK HERE
Introducing... Craigs-Lisp. LINK HERE
6 famous artists you didn't know were perverts. LINK HERE (SFW- mild language)
One last thing..
If you're looking for something nice to do this V-Day without spending a whole bunch of money and helping out a good cause, please take a look at this raffle that Variety STL is doing. I promise you it's a great way to spend your hard earned money and will give you like 1,000 karma points. LINK HERE