Monday, September 06, 2010

Is Politics a Problem With Cardinals?

It seems that Colby Rasmus is the last of a long line of players who do not get along with Tony LaRussa. There was Rolen. There was Adam Kennedy and there were probably others. Now it's Colby Rasmus. This is absolutely a problem because though Rolen was a great player, Rasmus has the talent to be a key piece of this team for a long time. On several occasions, Albert Pujols was quoted with harsh words for Rasmus basically stating that Rasmus is a young kid who doesn't know how good he has it but if he doesn't want to be a Cardinal, he needs to get out of there.

The big question is how did it get this bad in the first place? Rasmus was a kid with "great makeup" and a kid with "his head squarely on his shoulders and his feet on the ground" in one review by scouts published in 2008. So how did we get from a kid with great makeup to a kid who apparently is so young he doesn't appreciate where he is or who he plays for. Sounds simple right? Must be the kids fault. His head got big. He's become a primadonna. But is that accurate? Do any of us really know? There seems to be a disconnect between 2008 and now. So what happened?

And what of the Pujols quotes? At the risk of saying anything bad against the sainted Albert, is he simply the blind defender of all things LaRussa? Yeah, those comments will help heal the wounds, eh? Sounds to this Fan like comments that should have been made in the clubhouse and not in the media. Seems a bit cowardly to this observer. Things are bad though, so bad that Rasmus has twice asked to be traded. Suffice it to say that Mr. Rasmus is not enjoying his experience.

Here we are in a desperate time for the Cardinals who have dug themselves a huge hole, still seven games back of the Reds and five games back of the wild card. And as much as this Fan loves Jon Jay, should Jay have taken any at bats away from Rasmus? Not in this Fan's opinion. But that is what happened. So the question is how much has LaRussa let this internal conflict or this internal politic if you will, affect his decision making? How much has it distracted the team? Colby Rasmus is 23 years old. He has a 124 OPS+. He needs to be playing every day. Period.

Does the recent participation by Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols at Glenn Beck's recent rally provide any clues into this mess or is that just a different subplot? Who knows. Perhaps Rolen, Kennedy and Rasmus are all left of center in political and moral thought. Who knows. But it was a bit weird that LaRussa and Pujols would go to an event that was sure to be polarizing (whatever you think of Mr. Beck, you can admit he is polarizing, can't you?). And what about Tony LaRussa gushing about Walt Jocketty, his former GM and now the GM in Cincinnati? That seems to be a slap at his own GM, especially since he doesn't mention him.

The Fan guesses that these things are more noticeable when a team is going badly. The Fan also guesses that Scott Rolen would be a lot better playing third for the Cardinals than Pedro Feliz. It would be nice if this thing could get all ironed out for the Cardinals because LaRussa is one of the top three managers in baseball, Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball and Colby Rasmus is a special talent. The Cardinals would be better off making all three of those people happy and working together than any of them working someplace else.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

Rasmus is very talented. Don't know why the organization is going out of its way to alienate him.