I was going to do a preview of the Arizona Fall League but the Cardinals and Walt Jocketty caused a change in plans.
There are a hundred different opinions out there regarding the who, what, when, and where. I have to admit I have mixed emotions. Walt did some really good things with an organization that had been down on its luck. But let’s be honest, this team was really stale. Even though the Cardinals were World Champions in 2006, let’s not forget most were complaining how bad this team was before the playoffs started. The team got hot at the right time and we all celebrated. This season was abysmal. The team failed to land big name free agents and its acquisitions did not work out.
It’s really easy to jump on the owners and call them cheap. But remember, this is a business and they do have the right to make money. Not all owners are like George Steibrenner (isn’t it funny how everyone wants to blast him for all the money he spends but every fan wishes his owner would do the same). If you don’t like that reality, buy your own team and run it how you wish. But with Free Agent salaries on the rise, a team has to be able to develop its own core. The Cardinals, with a few exceptions, have not been able to do that. This regime is not into player development. Remember, Pujols was not on the opening day roster but an injury to Bobby Bonilla forced LaRussa and Jocketty to put him on the roster and he went on to be the Rookie of the Year. The Cardinals acquired Larry Bigbie to play the outfield in 2006 which would have blocked Chris Duncan. Sidney Ponson to block Anthony Reyes and Adam Wainwright. This year the late season acquisition of Miguel Cairo took playing time away from Brendan Ryan and Brian Barden.
So what path does baseball take in St. Louis? John Mozeliak takes over until a new GM is named. He seemed to be the go between for Luhnow and Jocketty. Is he the man for the job? I am not sure. I would really like to see an outsider brought in. It is always nice to have a different viewpoint and new ideas. I am pulling for Logan White, Assistant GM and scouting director for the Dodgers. Chris Antonetti of the Indians would seem like another good choice. The Indians went through a similiar period of rethinking its philosophy and look at them now. They have an exciting young team and a deep farm system.
If you are wondering about some of the GM candidates out there, Andy Smith at Bugs & Cranks collected profiles of potential GMs from various bloggers across the blogosphere, yours truly included. Stltoday has its own list. A few names on that list make me cringe such as Allan Baird and Dan Evans.
What does this mean for Tony? If you ask me its the final nail in the coffin. Does Jose Oquendo take over? It has been rumored that he was next in line. But I think that is open at this point as the new GM will want to hire his guy. If Oquendo doesn’t get the job, it could cause a rift among the Latin players and the front office. Pujols is a staunch supporter of Oquendo. That being said, Pujols wants to win more than anything.
A crucial offseason just got a whole lot more interesting.
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