Even I wasn’t expecting this from the most hated man in Wisconsin.
Yes, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, after 33 seasons as a Major League manager, has called it quits. Obviously, unless he told you in August (like he did to a few coaches), you probably weren’t expecting it, especially after he won his third career World Series title.
Now, if you’re a Brewers fan, then you, much like myself, don’t really have any respect left for this guy anymore. The last straw for me was a Brewers-Cardinals series at Miller Park in late August, in which La Russa made himself look like an idiot. First, he complained that the Brewers were manipulating the stadium lighting while the Cardinals were batting. Then, following an accidental hit-by-pitch of Albert Pujols by Takashi Saito, La Russa sent Jason Motte to the mound, only to hit Ryan Braun, then taken out of the game. After the game, La Russa said something like: “We didn’t hit him on purpose, we were just trying to send a message.” That quote pretty much put me over the top- how can a future Hall of Fame manager make himself look so stupid? I still wonder that to this day, but, enough of me bashing him- let’s get onto his astounding stats during his 33 year managerial career.
La Russa has managed just three teams in 33 years- when you see a 33-year managerial career, you tend to think of maybe five or six different teams. But La Russa stayed with each of his three teams for an extended period of team- the White Sox (1979-1986), Athletics (1986-1995), and Cardinals (1996-2011). He didn’t have much success with the White Sox, as he only made the playoffs with them once, but he won one World Series title with the Athletics (1989) and two titles with the Cardinals (2006, 2011). He won a total of six pennants- three in the AL, three in the NL.
Anyway, despite the fact I don’t have respect left for La Russa, I can’t argue with the fact that he’s one of the greatest managers of all time.
So today was the first day of what looks like is going to be a busy offseason. Before I go, I’m just going to quickly go through all of the moves that were made today (other than La Russa retiring, we already went through that):
CC Sabathia decided not to opt out of his contract with the Yankees. Instead, he signed a one-year, $25 million contract, which is just added on to the four years already remaining on his contract. Guess he just can’t get enough money… But it’s hard to argue with, considering he’s 59-23 with a 3.18 ERA in his three season with the Yanks thus far.
The Indians picked up starter Fausto Carmona’s $7 million option. Carmona has been wildly inconsistent over the past three years, as he had a bad 2009, solid 2010, and now a bad 2011.
The Indians also declined center fielder Grady Sizemore’s $9 million option, simply because the 25-year old has been far too injury prone the past few years. But you can’t blame Cleveland for no longer wanting him after five surgeries in just three years.
Now for the last move the Indians made, and arguably the biggest- they acquired starter Derek Lowe from the Braves in exchange for a Single-A lefty, Chris Jones. Lowe is nearly out of gas, as he’s 38 and his numbers are declining- he’s coming off a 9-17/5.05 ERA year. But, the Indians just wanted him for veteran experience at the back of a young rotation that already includes young names such as Ubaldo Jimenez, Carmona, Justin Masterson, and Josh Tomlin.
Now for a few more option moves- the Royals exercised their 2012 option on closer Joakim Soria, and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez declined his option with the Cubs and is now a free agent.