all but official now that tony will be back. also pretty clear for whose benefit the early moves of this off-season have been:
i think they're the san francisco giants circa 2005 or the houston astros circa 2006, two other clubs who stumbled shortly after winning a pennant, panicked, and spent millions trying to get back to the top immediately. since 2005 (which was the giants' first losing season in nearly a decade), san francisco has added or retained barry bonds, barry zito, matt morris, steve kline, steve finley, ray durham, randy winn, bengie molina, rich aurilia, and dave roberts; they finished last this year and are now facing years of rebuilding. the astros, trying to stay competitive after their near-miss in 2006, added carlos lee, woody williams, jason jennings, and mark loretta . . . . and lost 9 games in the standings. they, too, look like they won't be contending again any time soon.
another recent example would be the 2001 mets, who --- one year removed from a pennant, and following an 82-80 campaign --- brought in roberto alomar, mo vaughan, jeromy burnitz, roger cedeno (who was then a good player), and pedro astacio. they dropped to 75 wins the next year and 66 wins the year after that.
will the cards head down a similar road? they haven't yet, but there are troubling signs that they --- like the examples cited above --- are more intent upon restoring the recent past than on building a new future. it's a mistake they can still avoid. let's hope they do.
more chatter on la russa in Red Blazer's diary.