Ed Wade does not owe me an apology.
Ed Wade does not owe me an apology.
I absolutely hate to have to go back to this, because it is my desire to move on from this subject, for good. But now that my name has been brought up specifically in an SI.com article, I need to again set the record straight.
Ed Wade does not owe me an apology, because Ed Wade never lied to me. Let me say it again — Ed Wade has never lied to me.
I have been working with him for a year and a half. I have had many candid conversations with him over time and the one thing he guaranteed me is that if I ever approached him with something regarding rumors — as long as they weren’t trade rumors, because it’s against the rules for teams to comment on players under contract other teams — if I was headed in the right direction, he would never flat out tell me I was wrong.
That doesn’t mean he’d help me, or give me any details, but he would not lie to me. And he hasn’t.
I told you that eventually I would have more on the timeline detailing the events that occurred from the time that I last talked to Ed about Pudge Rodriguez to the day that the news broke that they signed him.
So here it is.
The Astros had a night game last Friday, March 13, and that afternoon, I dropped by Ed’s office and asked him if he had a few minutes to answer some questions for a couple of features I was working on. At the end of the meeting, I asked again about Pudge, because I kept hearing his name tied to the Astros.
Ed, as you all know by now, vehemently denied that he was talking to Pudge’s agent, Scott Boras, about the free agent catcher. He was telling the truth. He had not had a conversation with Boras regarding Pudge prior to my meeting with Ed, unless you count the preliminary exchange the two had the last week of January.
(On Jan. 29, I asked Ed if he had interest in Pudge. Here is his quote, taken right from the story I posted that day: “At this point, nothing is going to fit for us. I got a sense they’ve plotted a certain floor with regard with what they want contractually. We’re not going to be able to meet those demands.” This is an important piece of the puzzle, because as you can see, I asked Ed about Pudge and Ed was honest, telling me that he had indeed talked to Team Pudge.)
Back to last Friday.
At some point, before the game, Wade met with his staff and became increasingly more worried about the catching situation. I honestly don’t know what freaked him out more, the quality of the catching throughout the spring or the team’s horrendous record. Heck, maybe after he heard himself railing about Pudge during his conversation with me he wondered if he really felt that way. I don’t know. All I do know is he changed his mind. He called Boras that night and left him a message. Then he called Drayton.
Boras, apparently unbeknownst to Wade, had actually already reached out to Drayton a day earlier and given him the “you really need Pudge, he really wants to be in Houston” speech to the Astros owner.
Meanwhile, Pudge was sending text messages to one Astros player, expressing his desire to be with the Astros. He talked publicly about being willing to change positions. He did not want to be a backup. Playing time was a priority. It smacked of desperation.
Time to pounce.
Ed talked to Boras after Friday night’s game. Ed made an offer. Boras didn’t think it was enough, but he said he’d get back to him.
The next day, Lou Palmisano, the Astros’ Rule 5 catching candidate, made two throws to second base on steal attempts that were anything but strong, putting it mildly. I thought, “Uh oh.”
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one.
Ed and Boras didn’t talk again until Monday. They went back and forth, and a deal was reached.
This story is pretty simple. Wade and Boras talked in late January, and they talked again last Friday. There were no conversations in between. Ed changed his mind about Pudge, Drayton changed his mind about the unmovable payroll structure and Pudge signed a contract.
This is the business of baseball. Things change every single day.
When I heard the news that the Astros signed Pudge, I never thought to myself, “I can’t believe Ed lied to me.” My initial reaction was, they waited him out and they got him on the cheap, because he wants to be an every day player.
Then I thought, this is going to look really, really bad to the public. I was right on both fronts.
One more thing. Several web sites are quoting my blog entry regarding Ed’s reaction to my question about Pudge during my meeting with him last Friday. But they only included part of the paragraph. Here is the whole thing:
“After checking with Ed Wade yet again today, I can assure you the Astros are not pursuing him. And judging from the irritated look on his face, I can also assure you I won’t be asking him about Pudge again anytime soon. At least not for two weeks. Or maybe 10 days. At the very least, I’ll wait a week.”
That was a tongue-in-cheek, humorous way of poking fun at myself for getting on Ed’s nerves with my incessant questions about Pudge. The last part was my way of saying this may be over, but it’s probably not really over.
The dig at myself was taken the wrong way, and I apologize to you and to Ed.
That’s my story. I stand by everything I have written and said over the last month and I have no regrets expect for one. I wish I had asked Ed about Pudge on Saturday at noon instead of Friday at 3.
In this game, it’s all about timing.