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Wakeup Call: Half the Sano story

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> If I were ever going to write a book on any topic that I’ve ever covered in my life, it would be the Miguel Sano topic. And you know, I still might someday.

But I’ll promise you right here that when I do, you’ll get both sides of the story.

Not just this.

Longtime readers will recall I invested an awful lot of 2009 in coverage of the Sano pursuit. You’ll also recall, I hope, that I presented both sides to you evenly on a near-daily basis. I don’t remotely fault Yahoo’s Jeff Passan for getting only agent Rob Plummer’s side. It’s clear Passan pursued the Pirates and Rene Gayo and even managed to get a statement out of the team. Good for him. It was a well-written, intensely researched piece. (And no, I’m not just saying that because some of his source material is my work from the time.)

I can tell you unequivocally, though, that it ends up painting only half the picture.

I’ve got zero interest in revisiting this stuff. I really do. But a lot of you emailed, tweeted or brought it up in the comments here, so I’ll offer just a couple statements:

1. Gayo did absolutely nothing against any rules, as Passan correctly points out.

2. Gayo is one of the best human beings I’ve encountered in any walk of life. The world of international scouting is a free-for-all, and the things described in this piece are executed by all teams in all Latin American countries, but especially the Dominican. It’s the law of the jungle, and Gayo just happens to be a bigger lion than most. If you think that his success in an eat-or-be-eaten business makes him a bad guy, that’s definitively naive.

3. People who elect to spin this as blaming someone other than the Pirates’ front office for the failure to sign Sano will remain 100 percent wrong. And I could get, under oath, Plummer and Sano and everyone else associated with the process to back me on this simple fact: If the team had produced the $4 million Plummer was demanding, Sano would be with the Pirates. The front office preferred to get a bargain, believing the Pirates were the only team in play. When the Twins jumped in, the Pirates were shocked. The decision about money was never in Gayo’s hands.

4. As recently as last year, Plummer posted on my Facebook page that Sano “SHOULD HAVE BEEN A PIRATE,” repeating a regular refrain about how they failed to pay his asking price.

All the rest is drama and distortion. This signing was about money. Usually is.

I’ll stop there, but there’s so, so much more. Maybe I’ll save it for the book.

>> Spoke with high-ranking Pirates official yesterday, and I can tell you this: It will not be long before Starling Marte is in Pittsburgh.

“It’s time,” the official said without specifics.

In the same convo, it came about that Jose Tabata had better get his act together immediately or he’s headed for the minors. The team is — and should be — livid with his lackluster effort. Sounds to me like an easy one-for-one switch.

Look at Marte’s numbers for yourself.

And look for Marte in Pittsburgh very, very soon.

>> Bud Selig talked Pirates with our Rob Biertempfel.

>> If Zach Parise‘s goal is to win a Cup, he needs to break free of the iron grip of Lou Lamoriello.

There’s loyalty, and then there’s foolishness. The Devils just made the final, which is great. But their ownership is on the cusp of bankruptcy, they’ll never pack the Prudential Center regularly, they’ll never leave Newark, they invested a combined $10 million yesterday in two goaltenders who are a combined 83 years old — Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg – and there is precious little sign of some great new wave on the horizon.

If Parise wants to win, this shouldn’t be that tough a call.

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