MLB.com provides a potential indication that Alfonso Soriano might be the first to blink:
I could be putting words into Soriano's mouth, but I thought previously that there was no decision to make, from his perspective. And it certainly seems like it:
Whatever is the case, Soriano's tone is changing. Formerly an unapologetic stone wall, Soriano is now concerned about being perceived as a "bad guy" and says he meant no offense when he refused invitations to talk to the media.
I do wonder, though. Is this a sign that he's:
- willing to relent? or
- getting ready to bunker down to a PR war?
This latter option might be the product of a jaded perspective on the whole matter, or it might be appropriately street smart. A comparison to the Terrell Owens situation has come up more than once (stock observation: Is Diego Bentz even more foolish than Drew Rosenhaus?), but the thing is, just about everybody loved the aggrieved guy in that situation---which was either Donovan McNabb or Andy Reid, depending on your perspective. Here, on the other hand, it's Jim Bowden, who is loved solely by the leather futures market. Everybody else things Bowden's kind of a tool.
Maybe Soriano cozies up to the press a little more and wins the battle-of-being-a-less-tool in the media.
As I see it, the only problem with that plan is Jose Vidro. At least, from Soriano's perspective, years of wear and tear have buttered up Vidro's knee for a close encounter of the Shane Stant kind. But Soriano wants us to believe he's not a bad guy, and bad guys are the ones who usually order murder-for-hires. So maybe Soriano is just feeling out whether to relent. We'll see.
One last odd observation: Capitol Punishment did a great job of looking at this situation from several angles this morning, including the non-tender scenario. (In short, Soriano might be a free agent either way come December.) Just to add on a frivolous possibility, let's say Soriano sits out the season (I don't think he will, but roll with me here) and the stars somehow align---Vidro is gone, Bowden is definitely gone, Mercury goes into retrograde---such that whoever is running the team decides, "You know what? I'd sort of like to see what this Soriano can do next year." Guess what provision of the Collective Bargaining Agreement would apply, provided that Soriano isn't a six-year free agent by that point, as is necessary for this scenario? The maximum cut rule. So it would cost, approximately, $8 million to keep him. Not that this would happen, of course . . .