Here’s Joe Strauss’ latest on the State of the Pujols negotiations. Not much new in there other than the tidbit that Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano and Cadinals’ GM John Mozeliak are “in regular contact.”
All of this stuff — the deadline, the moving of the deadline for Musial’s thing, etc. — just makes me think that if it was Albert Pujols’ goal to limit the distractions of his contract status, he was probably way better off not setting a deadline at all.
Really: if it was wide open and fluid and talks could theoretically go on during the season, how many people would be writing stuff about his contract status right now? Not many, I imagine. It would be relegated to paragraph five of standard spring training stories, and would be tossed off with ” … and winning this year takes on greater importance given that it could be Albert Pujols’ last season in St. Louis. That will be decided this winter, however. For now, the Cardinals look like the should challenge for the division crown if …”
Instead this is being watched like someone’s execution. Deadline on Tuesday! No, wait! The governor called and has delayed it until tomorrow morning. Pujols was just fed his last meal! He’s walking out now! No contract has been signed! Protesters are holding a vigil outside the gates of the stadium!
Just because negotiations proceed doesn’t mean that they need to be a distraction to the player. The agent can see to that. Hell, the agent could just humor the team all summer and never bother the player at all. Maybe that’s not ideal, but if, as Pujols says, avoiding distractions is the name of the game, such a course couldn’t have been worse than setting this ultra-dramatic cutoff tomorrow.