Monday, April 6, 2009

Frickin LaRussa

Why does Tony LaRussa play head games with everyone and anyone? He picks Skip Schumacher to be the starting secondbaseman, also has rookies David Freese and Colby Rasmus go north with the big club. But on opening day - he chooses Brian Barden to start at 3B, Brendan Ryan at 2B and Chris Duncan to start in left. Plus, Jason Motte is the most dominant reliever during spring training, so much so that the leading candidate for the closer's role going into spring training, Chris Perez, was sent back to AAA because of Motte's dominance. But LaRussa will not give Motte the job, he will also use Ryan Franklin who failed miserably during his tenure as closer during the 2008 season. Franklin is brilliant as a setup man...but not as a closer. You also don't bring prize rookie prospects north and not let them play immediately. Why do you mess with their heads?? Give them the confidence that they can play at that level, no matter who is on the mound or who that pitcher would be facing.

I know Tony has always won, but this thing has always driven me nuts about the way he manages. He and Dave Duncan (the pitching coach) have always despised rookies. Another example, Brett Wallace, a third baseman, is another prize prospect in the Cardinals organization. When Troy Glaus decided to have surgery on his shoulder in February rather than October, like most team players would do, most thought Brett Wallace would get some at bats in the spring with the big club to see if he could make the jump. Wallace has been referred by many experts as the best hitting prospect in the minor leagues. But hey, why would the Cardinals want another Albert Pujols across the diamond, from Albert Pujols. That would just be a dumb idea.

Truth be told, I think Tony overmanages, and I really feel he has lost as many games that he can affect directly, as he has won. I really like what GM John Mozeliak has done with the squad at this point...he has rebuilt the farm system to be a top 10 system within 18 months of being on the job. Now, all Moz has to do is find a manager that believes in letting young players become superstars. So hopefully, there is a new manager in town within the next year or two, so some of these young kids get a chance to prove they can play. What about Buck Showalter??
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