02.15.11

In A War Of Words With Scott Boras, Cards’ La Russa Has Precious Little Ammo

Posted in Baseball at 7:12 pm by

St. Louis has approx. 14 hours left to meet Albert Pujols’ reported demand for a 10-year contract extension, and while it remains to be seen if the 9-time All-Star will accept Wednesday’s 8-year, $200 million revised offer, the first baseman’s manager and agent engaged in an unseemly pissing match that brought to mind a revised version of an old David Letterman joke. To wit, if Tony La Russa and Scott Boras were beating each other with huge wooden clubs, who’d be the winner? (A : the American people….especially if Boras won).  While the Cards’ tipsy skipper claimed Pujols’ representatives “are getting beat up by the union” (“set the bar, set the bar. You’ve got to deal with it. It’s not the way it should be”), since Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra had the singular misfortune of listening to Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy on Sirius-XM today, he deserves full credit for the following transcription of Boras’ pointed response.

When asked by Duquette and Kennedy what might be animating La Russa’s lashout at the union today, Boras said “self-interest.” He noted that La Russa is competitive and wants the best player and that, like fans and anyone else, he’s reacting to the notion that the best player might leave the Cardinals.  But he doesn’t forgive La Russa for this narrow-mindedness like he forgives the fans who just want to watch baseball. Why? Because La Russa is a hypocrite.

“There is a market for managers,” Boras noted. And in that market the managers have every right to take below market deals if they want to.  ”The last I remember,” Boras said, “Tony sits at the top of that managerial chain.”  Which is true. And I’m guessing La Russa doesn’t think that he was unduly pressured to take that high dollar deal. He wanted it because he thought he deserved it. And I gotta tell ya: While I respect La Russa’s accomplishments as a manager, Albert Pujols has more of a right to ask for the top dollar in his job than La Russa does in his.

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