So I’m casually flipping through channels this afternoon during half-time of the “Aaron (Sherman) Rodgers’ march to the sea” and catch this little tidbit during the news:
Albert Pujols has given the Cardinals until 18 Feb, the day pitchers and catchers report, to negotiate a new deal. He will not negotiate during the season.
That’s a paraphrase, but it matches with what ESPN reported about 3 hours ago. Now as you know this is not surprising or new for Pujols. In previous years he has also stated he would not negotiate with the club for an extension once the season starts. Naturally it’s more of a concern this time because he’s a free agent after this season.
It’s always seemed odd to me that AP has maintained that stance. After all, he has representation that I’m sure he’s paying very well, so it’s not like he’ll be sitting across the table from the Cardinal negotiating team during the season. How much of a distraction could a phone call be on the subject of his compensation? I admire him for his efforts to simplify his life during the season, however I can’t help but think the only reason he makes pronouncements like this is for leverage during the negotiations. If the Cardinals and he reach an impasse, but the Cardinals really want to keep him, and the deadline is approaching, will they cave in to whatever demand is a sticking point? I guess time will tell.
For many Cardinal fans a countdown will now begin marking the days to Feb 18, which no doubt will be circled on the calendar. A red letter day for the Cardinal team we will watch in 2012 and beyond. I wonder how this final act will play out. I guess we’ll find out.
In other news, Kyle McClellan avoided arbitration and signed a one-year deal. A good move; McClellan has been one of the Cardinals most reliable relievers the past 3 seasons. The team also signed Miguel Batista and Ian Snell off the scrap heap to minor league contracts. I don’t understand either signing. At the end of last season in DC, Batista was either pitching in games that were already decided, or because there wasn’t anyone left to run out there. Want to read some interesting recent history on Batista? Do a search for his name on USS Mariner, then read the articles from 2009. The Cardinal rotation is set, and they really don’t need another righty in the pen.
Snell at least still throws hard (93-95 on the gun), but he has no secondary stuff. The Pittsburgh Pirates, who never seem to have any pitching depth, released Snell in 2009 because he wasn’t any good. Seattle took a chance on him last season; he played his way off the major league roster. If the Cardinals could find the key to unlocking Snell’s talent which eluded Pittsburgh and Seattle he’d be a find, but his history says they won’t. Snell may also suffer from the same kind of depression that ended Khalil Greene’s career, which he would need to manage successfully to fully reach his potential.