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bernie now thinks the odds favor tony's return to the st louis dugout. he also speculates --- emphasize "speculate"; bernie is not going on information he's getting from sources --- that

after their little back-and-forth in the newspaper earlier this week about the process to hire a GM, I have a feeling that La Russa has been brought into the loop by DeWitt, and Tony is being kept informed about who they are talking to, and why. I'm not saying TLR is part of the search process in the GM hiring; what I'm saying is, I have a reason to believe that DeWitt is going to respect La Russa's input. . . . La Russa will know in advance who the GM is, and in one form or another, he will have given a thumbs-up.
the suggestion is not that tony is being given veto power over the gm hire; that's not what bernie is theorizing. but i do worry that, consciously or not, dewitt is going to consider "compatibility with tony" a criterion in the evaluation of candidates. and it shouldn't be. suppose an applicant has a stellar resume, comes with glowing recommendations, and aces the interview --- but says at the end the interview, "i need the right to hire my own field manager. i can't succeed otherwise." is that guy out of the mix?

i hope bernie's speculation is off the mark. if it's even the slightest bit accurate, then i gotta wonder whether dewitt really knows what he is doing. asking la russa to stay on is one thing; i don't agree with that decision, but given la russa's track record and his achievements here you can argue that he's earned the right to stay. i won't challenge that argument. but i will challenge the argument that keeping tony in place is such a high priority that it should affect the choice of gms, even indirectly.

no offense to my many esteemed lawyer friends, but this is such classic lawyer behavior by tony. the longer he drags out his decision, the greater the chance that he insinuates himself somehow on the hiring process. you guys are slime. . . . . and i say that with affection and respect.

assorted other items:

  • think this through with me: $3.5m for russ springer; $2.25m for ryan franklin. why would you pay your 6th/7th-inning guy more than your 8th-inning guy? particularly when the 6th/7th-inning guy isn't really testing the market, and would just as soon retire as pitch somewhere else? at the time he signed that extension, franklin was sporting an era in the low 1.00s; does he just have a lousy agent? (it's his brother, by the way.) one possibility: maybe the cards are viewing springer as the new 8th-inning guy and paying him accordingly, while penciling in franklin as an affordable innings-eater (which is what i think they should do). i am certainly open to other theories . . . . .there's been a suggestion that dewitt is simply overpaying springer out of compassion, since russ has a developmentally challenged kid. i would hope (and think) that's not true; springer made almost $2 million last year, and has made nearly $10 million over the course of his playing career; there are plenty of needier cases in the st louis area who can use dewitt's charity more than an overpaid jock.
  • nice show by the phoenix faithful in game 1 of the nlcs --- don't fill the seats, then chuck trash on the field when your team loses. classy.
  • gleaned from joe strauss's online chat on wednesday: "I, for one, believe [free-agent Tom] Glavine would be a solid fit here. He would likely be open to a one-year deal with some sort of option. He received a $3 million buyout from the Mets and could go elsewhere for $8-10 million. Without Carpenter out until at least July, he also offers a much-needed presence. I'm buying." hmmmm; it's true that old left-handers never die; glavine will be 42 next year, and david wells went 15-7 at that age just two years ago, while jamie moyer put up a 13-7 record as a 42-year-old. but since 2004 glavine has a 3.31 era / 1.280 whip at home (ie, pitcher-friendly shea), vs a 4.35 era / 1.444 whip on the road during that span. and the split is getting worse --- in the last two seasons, glavine's basic road stats are 4.63 era / 1.490 whip. he's had a higher road than home era in each of the last four seasons. the mets, who watched him pitch all season, were so optimistic about his outlook for 2008 that they paid him $3m to go away . . . . i'll pass.
  • chatmeister strauss also discusses two trade scenarios involving anth reyes. the first: "The Phillies and Cardinals nearly swung a deal involving Reyes. [Outfielder Michael] Bourn was part of the conversation. Those talks could revive this winter." the other, in response to the question "Reyes and who to bring Renteria back?" was: "Toss in Tyler Johnson and it's a done deal." ugh, re the latter idea: two pre-arbitration pitchers in exchange for a single year of edgar renteria? way to build things up for the future. . . . . reyes for bourn, on the other hand, makes a lot of sense. bourn has some identifiable skills (excellent on-base ability, terrific speed, good defense), and he's young (24) and cheap and still has some upside. if he got himself established, he could give the cards a leadoff hitter for the next 5 years. if they can convert reyes into that, bravo.
  • occasional VEB poster D GOOCH has done some intersting analysis re payroll leverage. not surprisingly, the cards are in a trough . . .
  • want a 10-foot-high cardinals bobblehead? it's being auctioned off for charity; here's the link to the auction page. check this thing out:

    which cardinal is that, anyway ---- edmonds? i would bid on it myself, but i wouldn't want the bobblehead to clash with our 10-foot-high Viva El Birdos sundial . . . . ha ha ha, kidding; the sundial's only 8 feet high. but seriously, this is for a good cause (the United Way). place a bid and bring the bobble home for El Birdos.
  • i received the following press release regarding an upcoming Stan the Man tribute:
    As a tribute to his service in the uniform of his country and in recognition of his service to his community, Stan Musial has been chosen for recognition at the upcoming "Lone Sailor" Awards Dinner on Monday, October 29. Hosted by the United States Navy Memorial, the black tie gala will also honor three other celebrated veterans whose service includes duty in the Navy during WWII and duty in the Marine Corps during the Korean conflict: Tom Benson, Morgan L. Fitch, Jr., and The Honorable John Warner (R-Va). This year's event will take place at The Grand Hyatt, 1000 H Street, NW, in Washington, D.C.

    Mr. Musial noted: "There's a lot more to being a successful athlete than going to training camp and practicing your game. I wore the Navy uniform proudly in World War II and was honored to serve my country. I am also deeply grateful for the lessons of teamwork, integrity and dedication to mission that have served me throughout my career and my life. I have had the good fortune to receive many awards through the years, but this is truly a standout. "

    more information at this link.
  • jay levin, one of SB Nation's bloggers (he's part of the Let's Go Tribe writing team), is blogging the baseball playoffs for Esquire. i recommend their work, even though levin and his Esquire cohort savaged my (approximate) namesake and kinsman and countryman, joe borowski, in this post. they called him "blowsaveski," the heartless bastards. their alcs preview is due up today; should be interesting, since both writers are diehard indians fans.