Today's front page post is running long, and you know what that means—an unconvincing promise that there will be a full front page entry up some time between two and five. There will be a front page post up between two and five! It's about Chris Jaffe's new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers; he was kind enough to provide me with the sections that deal with the Cardinals' most illustrious managers. Non-surprise: Tony La Russa is among the best managers of all time. Surprise: He's among the best managers of all time... at lineup management. Running late also means... bullet points:
- Does Joe Strauss hate to be the bearer of bad omens, and do it anyway, having read The Human Comedy at an impressionable age, or does he live for this? I think it's debatable. But it's true that with no working idea of what Albert Pujols is looking to retire on devoting a franchise-player-sized chunk of payroll to your Scottie Pippen of choice is something of a crapshoot. I don't pretend to know what's best for Albert Pujols, but as the team remaining competitive goes the looming and unsurveyed massiveness of his contract extension is a serious hindrance to long-term planning.
- Well, at least ranking 29th in the recent SI.com/Baseball America team prospect power rankings meant that the Cardinals got a full-sized blurb. For me the Mark DeRosa trade will always—this is a provisional always, due to be edited out surreptitiously in 2015 should Brett Wallace become the player I thought Daric Barton was—sting worse than the Holliday move. DeRosa was theoretically an extremely useful player for the Cardinals, at least until they acquired Holliday and Lugo and pinned him to third base, but Chris Perez and Jess Todd were the last pieces of lumber on the 2008 Relief Depth Stockpile.
- That said, I'd be interested to know where the Cardinals' system would have ranked had Wallace stuck around; they did, after all, graduate Rasmus, Perez, Boggs, and Motte, and Daryl Jones and Pete Kozma, not to mention most of the Adam Reifer-y sleepers, had disappointing years. The problem isn't just the Holliday trade; it's the relative weakness of the 2007 draft as the 2005 draft graduates. Choosing Adam Ottavino and Pete Kozma in consecutive years has, to this point, made it much more difficult to say goodbye to the Walrus.
- But at least there's Shelby Miller. I'll admit it right here: The Cardinals' top prospect being a pitcher has, in post-Anthony Reyes America, made me extremely nervous. The Cardinals' Top Prospect pitchers of the decade, according to Baseball America: Anthony Reyes (2005-2006), Blake Hawksworth (2004), (2003), Jimmy Journell (2002), Bud Smith (2001), Rick Ankiel (2000.) Welcome to the club, Shelby. I hope you can hit!