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Surprise: Tony La Russa won’t back down on the Pujols-union stuff

Feb 16, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT

La Russa closeup

Yesterday Tony La Russa said that, though he has no evidence that he MLBPA is pressuring Albert Pujols to hold out for top dollar, he suspected it was the case. More than suspected, actually, he called it a “guaranteed assumption.” Then Mike Weiner of the MLBA said it wasn’t true. And Scott Boras — who knows from guys who are looking for top dollar — said that it never happens that way.

Most people involved in such a he-said, she-said would normally either back down or clam up about it at that point, realizing that there’s nothing to be gained absent some kind of evidence in their favor.  Not Tony La Russa, who told reporters today that “it strains credibility a little bit to say there hasn’t been any contact” between Pujols and the union. Which is a fancy way of saying that Weiner and Boras are lying.

I commend Tony La Russa for so bravely sticking to his guns on this. I mean, it’s not going to be easy to make someone other than the Cardinals the villains if and when Albert Pujols leaves via free agency because they’re not the highest bidder. It’s exactly this kind of tenacious behavior by La Russa, however, that gives them a fighting chance and casting the union — a party that is not at the bargaining table — in the bad guy role.

  1. cintiphil - Feb 16, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    It ain’t in his blood to back down. Anyway, why is he wrong? We know what the players union is all about. It happened in other cities and it is probably going on here. Anyway, I still think the birds will sign Albert. Too bad we don’t have a chance to get him.

  2. megary - Feb 16, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    You know, I really don’t care much for TL, but I have to at least commend him for trying to protect both his player and organization in one fell swoop. I mean, he really doesn’t care what anyone outside StL thinks of him.

  3. Jonny 5 - Feb 16, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    That’s funny the Union feels that way about Albert, but felt differently for Lee. Hmmm? That just doesn’t make too much sense to me.

    Weiner: “We were happy with Cliff Lee. He did exactly what we want players to do and exactly how we want contracts to operate.”

    Weiner (cont.): “That’s what free agency is about. Not only were we not upset Cliff got to go to the Phillies, we applauded him.”

    I’ll let BC tell us what that makes Tony LaRussa.

    • BC - Feb 16, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      He is…… here it comes….. a chipwich supreme.

      • pauleee - Feb 16, 2011 at 4:06 PM

        Soon to be on the menu at a Taco Bell near you!

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 16, 2011 at 4:28 PM

        No, that’s going to be a Cowchipwich supreme.

    • Professor Longnose - Feb 16, 2011 at 4:42 PM

      That’s after the fact; of course, they’re going to say they’re happy with what happened. Also, it’s not a comparable situation; Lee did hit free agency and the differences between the contracts weren’t very big.

      It certainly makes sense that the union would push players to get the most money–it lifts prices in general. Decades ago, Tony Gwynn wrote a piece about the pressure the union put on him when his contract was up and he wanted to leave San Diego. Most likely, it does happen.

      Not that I have any idea what happened in this case. It makes sense for Pujols to go to free agency whether the union wants him to or not.

      And once again–why in God’s name to we believe anything Scott Boras says?

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