Dan Lozano – Super Genius

by on February 14, 2011 · 6 comments

 

 

Somewhere hidden beneath the sticks of  dynamite, giant rubber bands, and huge boulders in Dan Lozano’s car trunk there is probably an ACME brand “Sports Agent In-A-Box” kit.  He probably has the at-home version as well.  Judging by recent events, he’s probably dog-eared several pages in the chapter on “Conquering the Baseball World One Firstbaseman At-A-Time”.  Maybe he’s simply memorized it.  Although I haven’t ordered the kit for myself, I’ve been making uneducated guesses about the contents for some time now.  With the help of an unnamed source who is close to a person who happens to work with a woman who lives next to the cousin of a neighbor of the guy who works the evening shift at a restaurant where Lozano frequently doesn’t eat lunch, I have some insight into the ACME “Sports Agent In-A-Box” kit contents. 

  1. Detailed instructions on how to abandon leave your employer of 22 years behind just in time to set up shop on your own right before some of your biggest clients are due for HUGE paydays.  Yep, he took Pujols, Michael Young, Jimmy Rollins, Dallas Braden, Joey Votto, Orlando Cabrera, J. C. Romero, and a good bit of the Beverly Hills Sports Council staff right along with him.  Clever and subtle. [/sarcasm font]
  2. Package of “Hello My Name is NOT Scott Boras” name tags (quantity 100).
  3. Bluetooth handsfree headsets of various shapes and sizes that are programmed to blink even when you are not actually receiving a call in order to make you appear busier than you really are.
  4. Spare cell phones pre-programmed with contact lists for clients, major league front office points of contact, legal teams, bail bondsmen in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, 911, and the nearest Jimmy Johns.
  5. Index cards and cheat sheets with prepackaged quotes and one-liners for moments when quick thinking may be necessary, yet difficult.  Examples include favorites like “Nobody puts Votto in a corner!”, “I’m only one mang.”, “We win as a team, and lose as team, except when my supporting cast just doesn’t support my cast.”, and “There is no ‘I’ in team, but there is one in ‘WIN’ but not in ‘GOAT’”.  The index cards are specially designed not to chafe the inside pockets of really expensive suits.
  6. Exquisitely fine pens specially designed to be carried in the pocket of very expensive dress shirts without staining the pocket.  Actually, the pens don’t even work, and they carry nothing of use.  Come to think of it, they have a lot in common with some agents.
  7. Pamphlets that explain how to collect additional players when possible.  Lozano just added Nick Swisher to his “stable”.  After all, it’s not collusion if they all have the same agent, right?

It’s a fairly large box, so I’m sure that there is a lot more to the kit than what I’ve listed, but I’ll add more details as more information comes available from my trustworthy sources.  The important thing is that another unnamed source who is “close to the situation” and is “familiar with some of the relevant details” tipped me off about one of the really subtle negotiating tactics in use from the beginning of this mess.  This one actually dates back to at least last year.

Lozano wanted to send a message to the other 29 MLB teams that Albert would become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2011 season (technically 5 days after the World Series or something like that).  Anyhoo, he needed a vehicle for delivering that message, and it’s considered bad form (and against league rules) to announce something like that to the world.  So, how did he manage to send his message?  Smoke signals?  Tin cans with string?  Nope.  He convinced Albert that it would be a good idea to set some nonsensical, arbitrary deadline for concluding negotiations for prior to the beginning of the season.  Better yet, the reason cited is that Albert doesn’t want the contract talk to become distracting.  Right.  That’s good, because his impending free agency won’t hang over the Cardinals like a little black rain cloud hanging over Winnie the Pooh.  Good plan……if you’re also investing in oceanfront property in Arizona as well.  If you aren’t and happen to have a shred of common sense, you know that the contract extension talk will be like a fog that will cover the team like a blanket all year.  It’s a dirty feeling that cannot be washed off…kind of like that feeling you get after eating something with a spork.

Why set the deadline at the beginning of spring training?  Why not?  That gives the other 29 MLB teams as much time as possible to put together contingency plans for bidding on Albert.  Remember, it only takes 2 teams to create a bidding war, and Lozano knew the demand would be there.  He just had to make sure that the marketplace was aware that the supply would be there.  To do that, he simply had to alert the potential buyers with a clever ploy.  Voila!  “Nonsensical Deadline, Transparent Posturing, Can’t Wait for Free Agent Bonanza, Wonder Twin Powers Activate” plan is a go! 

His job is made even easier by the fact that the negotiations with the Cardinals are being kept quiet.  If they are still in the bidding at the end of the year, he’s got a really good fallback plan and a baseline offer that a competing club would probably have to top by a reasonable amount to secure AP’s services.  Not bad.  So, let’s recap this whole thing.

  • Lozano and Mozeliak sit down for a brief chat after the 2010 season – Dan has Mo at “10 year extension”
  • Lozano orders kit from ACME
  • Lozano hatches plan to take over the world.  Plan looks similar to Gaga in her egg at Grammy awards, but the plan is far less scary.
  • Lozano convinces Albert that negotiations cloud mind, make slugger weak.  Focus, Albertson.  Wipe on, wipe off.
  • Much posturing ensues
  • A deadline is set, although nobody really knows the actual date of the deadline at first.  “Spring training” could mean lots of things. 
  • Clarification is made regarding deadline
  • Some national media people with deadlines proclaim the end of the world.
  • Nostradamus followers find lost quatrain and connect it to APocalypse2011, Albertageddon, or whatever it’s called now.
  • More posturing and non-talk about nothing

It’s interesting to note that when Lozano talks, he actually talks about saying nothing.  He’s really very good about talking about nothing and making talking about saying nothing seem very, very important.  Likewise, John Mozeliak has followed the same path and has made an art of saying little about talking about saying nothing.  He actually does say a little more about saying nothing, but he’s saying even less when he’s saying nothing about nothing.  It’s frightfully amazing how much both can say without saying anything about what they are asked to talk about. 

In the end, it seems that this whole thing is simply headed where it was really headed all along.  Free agency.  Perhaps the spectacle is best suited for prime time television or maybe Christie’s famous auction house.  Better yet, MLB, ESPN, FoxSports, and OWN can simulcast from all the various MLB “war rooms” while each team prepares to submit offers.  If that’s the case, then I can only hope that it’s not about the highest bid but about the best one.  Maybe other teams can offer a few more dollars, lower state income taxes, or a better propaganda department bigger marketing budget, but St. Louis offers continuity, icon status, and brand loyalty. 

TIDBITS:  For the record, I think it’s shortsighted and silly to avoid negotiations during the season.  If you can’t work while discussing a change in your employment status or compensation, then you need lessons in compartmentalizing or multitasking.

Like it?  Wish you had ordered something like a falling piano from ACME?  Follow gr33nazn on Twitter, and maybe we can get a group discount!

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Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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{ 6 comments }

Lee February 14, 2011

Agree 110% with the tidbit.

In fact, some other blogger said something to the effect of “if you want big boy money, you need to start acting like one.”

(Unrelated: I’m a regular reader and occasional commenter and just wanted to say that I’ve been enjoying your posts. Glad you’re on the team.)

Dennis February 14, 2011

I’m not familiar with what the other blogger wrote, so I’m ignorant of the context, but I don’t agree with the statement as a standalone one. It’s worth pointing out that Albert has a very close relationship with Lozano, and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the closeness of that relationship is actually hurting the process here. Albert once said that he had the best agent in the world and would trust him with his life. If Albert doesn’t really know everything that’s being said in the negotiations, then there’s no telling what version he’s getting. Ultimately, the responsibility falls to Albert to know what is happening, but he may simply be too trusting for his own good this time as well. Who knows?

I would be surprised if Albert and Lozano didn’t have an “auto, bowl me over, I’ll accept” number in mind. If the Cardinals hit that number at the last minute, all the hand-wringing could be moot. I just don’t expect that to happen.

Thanks for reading. It’s always great to get feedback (both positive and negative) from more and more readers. It lets us know what we’re doing right and wrong. Thanks.

Lee February 14, 2011

Fair.

I think the larger idea was to insinuate that Albert is being a little childish in the way he’s handling the situation (setting non-enforceable deadlines, refusing to address the issue with the press at spring training and beyond).

Of course, if Albert isn’t privy to everything in the negotiations (though I think he should be), then having him address the situation would only muddy the already opaque waters of speculation surrounding all of this craziness.

(Crash course in commenting: one probably shouldn’t post a tangentially-related and out-of-context quote. But thanks for addressing it all the same.)

Dennis February 14, 2011

Substitute “agent” for Albert, and I pretty much agree. The notion that the deadline prevents the issue from becoming a distraction seems ridiculous, but I think it’s a tactic, anyway. Being privy to something and actually knowing all the details are two completely different things. He has every right to know what is going on, but that doesn’t mean that he’s being fed all the proper information verbatim with full context.

It’s not a crime to post a quote from somewhere else, but I’ll usually take the time to note that I’m responding to it as a standalone statement, because it lacks context other than what the commenter gives it.

Ace February 14, 2011

Just let him try this with the Yankees, Swisher will be let go so quickly it won’t be funny. Yankees don’t allow ANY player, or agent run their franchise, or hold them hostage.

Last year Cashman put Boras in his place big time, when Damon was allowed to walk,because of Boras (agent) and Damon’s (player) unreasonable demands. Cashman also called them both out, for thinking he was stupid.

Dewit should’ve extended Pujols 3 yrs ago for 10 yrs while he was in his 20′s. It’s too late now for 10 yrs in his 30′s, they will be crippled financially.

Dennis February 14, 2011

I agree that the Yankees wouldn’t let anybody hold them hostage, but they basically sat on their thumbs waiting for Pettitte, and Rivera pushed them to a 2 year deal. Like most teams, they draw lines in the sand and know how to pick and choose their battles. They probably came out a bit ahead on Jeter (financially), but I’d say that they spent foolishly on Rafael Soriano (unless Mo goes down). Their biggest battle looming is Cano, and they’ll have to go big or go home on that one. As for Damon, that was an easy one to pick and fight, because they had every reason to pick it.

It’s easy in hindsight to say that the Cardinals should have extended Albert years ago. I agree that they should have broached the subject, but I don’t know that it would have saved them money. There may have also been some unintended consequences, because the price may have been significantly higher than the $16M he’s scheduled to make in 2011. The obvious benefit would have been the opportunity to avoid paying him into his late 30s and early 40s. Then again, they still have that opportunity now.

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