Boras once again did a bit of lobbying when he met with reporters on Wednesday. He reiterated his stance that the Cardinals are entirely able to sign Holliday and accomplish a new deal with superstar Albert Pujols.
"I always say, these are owners' decisions," he said. "I just say that I think the fans need to know these are choices."
The more I hear about Scott Boras, and more particularly from Scott Boras, the less able I am to conjure, for blogging purposes, plausible reasons that he is a good salesman. I have heard this particular line of reasoning this bluntly one other time, in recent memory: at a state fair exhibition floor, from a second-rate carnival barker selling an as-seen-near-TVs sushi-rolling contraption.
He'd just started his sales-pitch, and our small group, alone, stopped to listen; my girlfriend speaks Japanese and is fond of both Japanese culture and bad infomercials, and the confluence of circumstances seemed too much to resist. But his pitch is not geared for four people who know each other—he's obviously familiar with the complete Ron Popeil oeuvre, and his laugh lines, as he shows off his kitchen gadget, are meant for large studio audiences. He begins, addressing us directly, by assuming that we don't know the difference between sushi and sashimi. The correct pronunciation, whispered into my ear, follows, and given how Boras-ly he responds to this usurpation of his authority I can only imagine that this is how all Scott Boras conversations really start.
Having been told, implicitly, that we know more about his product than he does, he gets outwardly hostile. It is, for a while, as though he is attempting to justify his purchase to us. If there were more people I honestly think he would have told me that I couldn't be cool unless I was rolling my sushi with the push of a button—that supplies were going fast, and I, who could win the admiration of his friends and enemies and the girl on his arm with this simple device, should not, must not miss out. But with just the four of us there he said, his Popeil-voice breaking into a kind of heckler-in-reverse yell, that we looked like we could afford this thing, didn't we?
Presumably he was not aware that he was speaking to two liberal arts majors.
But Scott Boras knows who the Cardinals are, and he knows that the Cardinals understand as much about his product as he does. I'm not sure what saying "you sure look like you can afford him!" to the press does, except earn him a small but devoted following among the comments sections of America's newspapers.
That Matt Holliday will eventually be an "owner's decision" is self-evident. Bill DeWallet (it's a pun) could spend money he does not want to spend on the Cardinals on Matt Holliday; it's within his means. And I could have taken $20 that was, to be honest, earmarked for corn dogs and lemon shake-ups and purchased a simple product that would make the entire sushi process easier.
Having watched some of the better blogs rage against the continued employment of, say, Bill Bavasi for so long, I can only say that I'm glad the Cardinals have had reasonably competent management for the entirety of my blogging tenure. This particular Boras trick seems so transparent and desperate that I can only assume, in the grand tradition of trading with Billy Beane, that he is doing it on purpose, as part of an elaborate series of feints. But at least Mozeliak's unlikely to fall for the initial pump-fake.
The Rule 5 draft is this morning, but I'm not sure what that means for the Cardinals; one of the various hard-throwing relief question marks is an option, one that makes it very hard for me not to think about Anthony Reyes, but the Cardinals have the other two usual Rule 5 suspects—toolsy middle infield project and backup catcher—occupied.
I love looking at the Rule 5 draft after the fact, and I hope the Cardinals make a move, if for no other reason than to give us something to talk about in February, but except in Brian Barton/Chris Shelton cases I can't think of any other yearly baseball tradition that more stubbornly resists pre-gaming.