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The Kennedy Assassination

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.

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8 Comments | Leave a comment

That's one of the best post titles ever, so funny and appropriate.

Twins that have done steroids, the twin sets are done in before-and-after for: Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, and Bobby Estalella.


Which reminds me of the point I was going to put into the discussion but forgot to--is it possible that Kennedy is one of the Steroid 104? Not that LaRussa has ever been a stickler for that--just look at the roster for former users--but having that come out now might affect the chemistry, which would explain the timing of this.

LaRussa let Canseco and (allegedly) McGwire pop roids in his A's locker rooms, so I don't think he cares what the players do to get a competitive (sp?) edge. That is the cynic talking.

You hit the nail right on the head. It makes no sense to cut him now. Correcting a mistaken signing by eating his salary, OK; but why not do that in Nov/Dec?

I'll carry a guy who can't hit a lick if he stops every ball hit anywhere near him. Kennedy's defense improved in 2008 - are any of the candidates as good or better than him with the glove?

I agree with Mike, I don't think Tony has a problem with steroids. I think he does have a problem with players he considers to be "difficult". I have to wonder if AK's release had anything to do with his performance, or if it was all personality issues.

No, I don't think that TLR has an issue with it. Heck, look at all the former users (Glaus, Franklin, etc.) that are on the roster now.

What I am saying is that maybe that was the last straw, what TLR may have used to say, "Mo, it's going to be a distraction, he has to go."

TLR inspires strong emotions. Loyalty (like Pujols) and the opposite.

I agree C70 -- hate to see him leave without getting anything back in return.

But man, if TLR knew that he was having second thoughts about AK already...time to cut the cord in my opinion.

This debate will more than likely be going on all year unless somebody grabs the spot and runs with it from day one. And we all know the history behind that happening.

Skip is my early favorite just because he is the huge underdog. The Secret Weapon will have his hands full, but it gives us something to talk about. Game on!

Kennedy was a slug. I'm shocked that DeWallet was willing to eat the $4 million, but my dead grandmother has more power than AK.

Tim Fleming

Great post title. And it looks like both Kennedys were offed by Italians.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts on this matter. I thought I was crazy for wondering what the heck La Russa is thinking when he can't handle whining from people who want to play.

It seems another case of La Russa's way or the highway, no matter the cost.

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