Posted on February 10, 2009 at 7:34 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
The news came down yesterday afternoon. The Cardinals had released Adam Kennedy, just days before spring training started.
It was a stunning development to me. I spent yesterday afternoon trying to make some sense of it. Slept on it, hoping to have some revelation today. Hoped that today's stories from the Post-Dispatch
would help. Not so much.
This whole thing doesn't make much sense at all. No prospect or strong replacement. A team talking about a max payroll now paying someone $4 million to, eventually, play for someone else. And this is all because Tony La Russa can't play nice with others?
I have problems believing that La Russa thinks an outfielder and some utility types give the Cardinals a better chance to win than a regular second baseman. Look, Kennedy wasn't an offensive superstar, but the Cardinals knew that when they signed him before the '07 season. He came at a reasonable price and, for the most part, did what we expected him to do. Without a terrible May last year, he hits .307.
I can understand that there are some chemistry issues. Maybe he would be a drag on the dugout if he didn't get to start. Maybe things would be a little tense. But you didn't know that months ago? You know, back when you looked like you could afford to eat $4 million? Not right on the doorstep of spring training?
And there were no prospects you could have? I'm not even talking about prospects, per se, more warm minor league bodies. As I read somewhere (probably the CardsClubhouse thread
), you couldn't find someone to say, "Yeah, we'll pay a million of his salary and give you Joe Blow from A ball?" If nothing else, you save yourself a million dollars.
I've typically been on the side of La Russa, but this reordering of the roster just because he doesn't like someone really needs to stop. It worked out with Scott Rolen, since he was traded off for Troy Glaus. But the list of doghouse victims is continuing to lengthen.
Rolen. Kennedy. Anthony Reyes. Jim Edmonds. JD Drew.
It'd be different if these guys publically flouted authority or had run-ins with the law or basically did anything but want to play and differ with La Russa about how to do it. I realize that a manager has to run the team and keep everyone on the same page, but it seems to me there should be some give and take on both sides. At least from my admittedly incomplete standpoint, it looks like one side is staying completely inflexible.
So now what?
Skip Schumaker is the trendy selection for the new second baseman. The odds of this working, though, are very long. He'd be only the second player
to play second for any extended period of time after playing so many games in the outfield. And even if he makes the switch, there's no guarantee his production will stay the same
. If Schumaker does start at second Opening Day, it'd be darn impressive or the stubbornness of some flying in the face of obvious facts.
The rest of the choices (Brendan Ryan, Joe Thurston, Brian Barden) are pretty much interchangable guys, people that might not be bad on the bench but you don't want to see them starting every day. It may be that the organization is really high on Tyler Greene now and feel he can slide over from shortstop. He has shown some pop in his bat at the minor league level, but his contact rate hasn't been anything to write home about.
If the idea is to improve the position by allowing for a hungry bunch of guys to compete over the job, that may have succeeded. However, when you have a bunch of chickens battling, you shouldn't expect steak to be the result.
The Playing Pepper series continues today with the Red Sox and the Marlins, so come back later this morning and sometime this afternoon to take a gander at those.
Leave a comment