Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The case against La Russa
Well, here's something you don't see every day. From our friends over at Fungoes:
After the 2010 season, it’ll be time for Tony La Russa to pack his bags. The nominal effect on winning that he might have — The Hardball Times puts the maximum positive effect at a mere two games — isn’t worth La Russa’s ego, petulance and exorbitant salary.
Come 2011, the Cardinals can and should spend that $4.5 million on a player who can make an impact on the field — without the baggage that La Russa brings.
Among the baggage cited: La Russa's (apparently) permissive toward PED users, and his high regard for ace relievers (as opposed to ace starters). Well, the former I don't consider baggage, and the latter doesn't seem to have been a real problem, considering the recent contributions of (among others) Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.
Now, La Russa's salary does seem a bit much relative to other managers ... but then again, $4.5 million will buy only a couple of wins on the open market, and frankly I don't believe that a good (or great) manager is worth only two wins. There's something to be said for a manager you know can win, if only because he's done it before. There aren't any guarantees, of course; La Russa has three losing seasons as St. Louis manager ... but then again he's got 11 winning seasons.
I'm pretty sure this falls under the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" heading. The Cardinals will spend $100 million on players this year. I'm pretty sure they can afford to spend another $4.5 million on a manager who's taken them to the World Series twice in the last six years.
Nothing lasts forever, and eventually someone will have to make a move. But right now the franchise doesn't have to worry much about its manager, however petulant he might sometimes be. And there's something to be said for stability in the dugout.