On the Tony La Russa signing, my reaction is a decided 'meh.' I've gotten pretty used to him, and he has shown the ability to adapt last year, but then again, Winston Churchill said, "Americans always do what's right, but only after they've tried everything else." Still, that's better than a lot of the other organizations that try to push the same failed formulae year after year. As for the team's prospects in the intermediate and long term, there might be reason for despair, but there's also reason for hope:
Although there are a lot of spare parts that cant' be relied on to produce again, it's reasonable to believe that one of Carpenter, Rolen, Mulder, or Edmonds will be able to produce for next year. It's also reasonable to assume that a shrewd GM will be able to move one of our spare parts (Duncan, either Brady Anderson or Yadi, Reyes, etc.) for a youngish shortstop or starting pitcher that will be able to produce over the long term. It's even possible that the team might be able to stay moderately in contention in a horrible NL Central with a few mid-level acquisitions like Tom Glavine, and by bolstering the infield defense. Things aren't spectacular, and dreams of 2004 are pretty much dead. But I still have more hope for this team than I ever did circa 1993.
However, I am going to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from front page posting at Viva El Birdos. In my efforts to become Dr. Valatan, Ph.D., it has become clear that I simply don't have the time to regularly make posts that are of the quality and insight level of what I would like to give to the community, and still expect to not be living in Texas by year's end. Also, it is becoming clearer that the interests of both the team's development perspective, and this community is becoming more slanted toward an evaluation of minor league talent, and I lack the knowledge base and interest on the minors that many others around here readily demonstrate.
I appreciate the kindness that the community has shown me in my time here, and I want to thank larry for giving me the time and space to post here. It has been a treat, covering this team through a world series win and through numerous Jason Marquis and Kip Wells starts. It's not a complete goodbye--I'll still be sticking around as a substitute poster, and certainly in the comment threads, but for now, see you guys later.