As we discussed yesterday, Tony La Russa made it official
and rejoined the Cardinals for a 16th year. Let's be honest, though--there is a 2012 option on the contract and I'd say it's 95% certain that option will get exercised.
TLR stands 125 games behind John McGraw. I don't think anyone expects less than a .500 record out of the core that the Cardinals have right now. Assume he wins 85 games in 2011, that means he is just 40 games behind McGraw and the title of "winningest manager that never owned his team". While I know that La Russa isn't about personal records, leaving that challenge out there seems unlikely to me. I figure he'll be back for 2012 as a final swan song.
While the Cardinals indicated that most of the coaching staff would be offered contracts for next year in the coming week, one person that won't be returning is bullpen coach Marty Mason
, who apparently expressed his opinions a bit too loudly, forcefully and often.
You know how, when you get chummy with a boss or someone above you on the corporate ladder, sometimes you start forgetting that they are the ones in control and not exactly your best bud that you can complain about work with over a couple of drinks? That's the way Mason is coming off in these reports. Obviously, I don't know anything first hand, but it sounds like he got comfortable in St. Louis, figuring he'd been there so long that he could talk about the organization however he wanted. Finally, John Mozeliak had enough and, in this theory, he was looking to exert some power and shake things up anyway, so Mason made it easy for him.
I think this was Mo's way of saying, "Look, I know the old guard and the new guard are still sniping and they've been doing this for a while. While you don't have to like it, you've got to live with it. I'm tired of the griping and we're going to get more on the same page around here." 'Course, that could be completely projecting from having two kids.
Brian Walton gives a credible thought process to the fact that Mark McGwire won't be coming back either
. Most fans were expecting this, being that the offense seemed to have troubles, but being that McGwire was criticizing some things like the over-reliance on video that fans were also complaining about, I don't know if the problem was all him. The offense also might have looked a little better if they could have run the bases well, something that is not in McGwire's area. I have no problems with him returning, really, but having new triplets at home can definitely change the outlook on things.
While I've got a moment, let's wrap up the final Colorado series quickly so we can name the 2010 Hero and Goat.
Hero: Chris Carpenter. A great complete game in his last start, showing that he's still healthy and still can be a huge part of this team next year.
Goat: Allen Craig. Only starter with no hits on the evening.
Notes: Matt Pagnozzi got two hits, further adding to the notion that Bryan Anderson won't be a Cardinal come spring training in my mind.
Hero: Jake Westbrook. I don't know if he'll be back or not, but if not, he finished his Cardinal career in style. Nine strikeouts and no runs in 7.2 innings.
Goat: Albert Pujols. That 0-4 really hurt his chances to continue leading the team in hitting, and in hindsight, one hit in this game would have done it.
Notes: Trever Miller perhaps should have gotten the Hero tag, getting out Carlos Gonzalez (bad wrist might have helped, but still) with the bases loaded in the eighth to preserve the game. Good to see Craig with a couple of hits as well.
Hero: Matt Holliday. Two of the four hits, drove in the winning run.
Goat: Daniel Descalso. He and Colby Rasmus both went 0-4 with two strikeouts, so we'll pick on the new guy.
Notes: A stellar game by Kyle Lohse has well. His command wasn't completely there, with four walks, but if that's any indication of what we can get some of the time out of the '11 Lohse, maybe that contract won't be quite as bad after all.
Hero: Brendan Ryan. I've given him a lot of grief this year, but his 2-4 got him up to .223, which is much better than most of us thought around the All-Star Break.
Goat: Matt Holliday. Earlier in the season, there was no way that the team wins with an 0-fer from him and Pujols in the same game. Did they learn too late how to win without the big guys?
Notes: Two hits again for Pagnozzi. When Anderson doesn't even get into the final "let's play everyone" game, that's a sign.
Which means that not only does Albert Pujols have to relinquish his team batting crown, but for the first time he's not the undisputed Hero of the team either, as he and Holliday tied with 24 nods. Ryan gets the down side, with 14 Goat tags.
Remember, we've got Bill DeWitt III at 5 PM today and Matthew Leach tomorrow night! Join us!