John Smoltz Contract Talks may be Marred by the AJC

The last few times John Smoltz has neared free agency he's used a lot of tough talk in the media to try and help his case in contract negotiations. He gave us the great line several years ago, referring to John Schuerholz as "the homeboy upstairs." That was fantastic! I don't want it to get ugly this time around, but if it does, then hopefully we'll have some good one-liners.

Smoltz's agent seems to have been prompted to set the bar for how this year's negotiations will go:

The righthander's agent, Keith Grunewald, told the Daily News on Friday that "John's made it clear he'd love to finish his career in Atlanta, but that depends on what (Braves GM Frank Wren) and the guys want to do." [...]

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on its Web site Friday that the Braves are still pursuing the Padres ace with lower-tier prospects, but Peavy or not, Smoltz might not fit into their plans. In that case, he could then wait to find a team that needs him early next season.

"That's not a bad approcach to say who is winning and who can he help?" Grunewald said. "There will be injuries and poor performance around the league, so that will be part of it. … He won't be ready for the beginning of the season, but we're thinking May or June and he could make an impact like Roger Clemens a couple of years ago to help make a run at a playoff spot."

See, this is what I'm talking about; O'Brien's "blog" is being mistaken for actual reporting. So DOB's blog led Smoltz's agent to feel that John might not be in the team's plans this year, which prompted him to go public with the comments above.

Reporting new information in a casual blog setting like O'Brien does, where actual quotes are mixed with speculation by the reporter, is irresponsible. People are making the blog out to be a kind of extension of the official reporting that the newspaper produces and distributes.

Again, I don't mean to make this a post slamming DOB, but when something jumps off the page like the quotes above do, it's hard not to point out that this is proof of what I've been harping on for a while now. When there's only one paper in town, whatever that paper publishes (either in print or on the web) is going to be taken as a kind of reporting, and not the ridiculous bloviating that it really is.

This is probably being blown out of proportion by the NY Daily News, Smoltz's agent, and your's truly, but the facts are right there in print for all to read. If O'Brien wants to speculate and ruminate in his blog, then that should be all that it's for. It should not be an outlet for disseminating new information, that will only lead to more issues like the one revealed here.

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