I loved La Russa and never questioned a move he made. I gotta kinda dissagree with the notion that La Russa wasn't a good strategist.
The guy pulled moves out of his butt and they worked out. He did things most wouldn't think of doing. I've always respected and loved TLR and always will. I was definitely pissed when we started Royce Clayton over Ozzie though! I remember that from when I was young, I remember asking my older brother why he is doing that. My brother had said that the new manager Tony thinks that the younger clayton fits with the direction the team is going. He dissagreed and I remember saying I don't think that is the right choice at all. Just because a player is older doesn't mean he isn't hands down better than the rest of the players at the position. My brother had also said this manager we have knows what he's doing he used to manage Chicago and Oakland, he even won a world series in Oakland.
The thing is, you notice it when he makes a move and it works, but you don't notice when he doesn't make a move and the positive didn't happen.
His WPA for management (it's what was the teams winning probability after the manager made a move) was consistently middle of the road. But he was regarded and treated like an all-time great. And he isn't.
Joe Maddon is consistently top 3 every year, Bruce Bochy and Terry Francona are high up as well. Tony was high up his first decade managing, but the rest of the league caught up to him toward the end. His last year (2011) he was 22nd in WPA.
Btw, Ozzie Guillen is consistently the worst in baseball, no surprise there.
Tony over-used his bullpen. Not a bad thing, but that's what he was given credit for.
He would ignore others opinions with information (like batting Pujols cleanup like he should have, for over a decade) and he overly bunted and hit and ran.
do you guys remember the 20 inning game against the Mets?
Worst managed baseball game of all time.
Hit and run with Pujols at the plate, and Ludwick at first, with the pitcher spot batting behind Pujols.
There is no gain if Ludwick is safe or out, Pujols will be intentionally walked.
He did this kind of stuff all the time. I can cite 100 examples if I wanted to take the time. He was not a great in-game strategist.
The mere fact that we almost lost the 11 World Series with a pitcher at the plate should be enough of an example that I shouldn't have to go into detail. He was not good with his in-game strategy.
1. He put Kyle Lohse in left field, and let Joe Mather pitch
The argument: It's Lohse's rest day, so he can be used as a pinch runner, to play long toss, or to even pinch hit if necessary.
So Kyle Lohse gets put in the cleanup spot in the lineup because Matt Holliday was pulled in the 10th inning, and Joe Mather and Felipe Lopez pitched.
Well Mather couldn't find the strike zone. Meanwhile, Lohse was asked to shag fly balls in left field, and make throws into the infield. And Mather couldn't find the plate and we eventually lost the game due to his inability to throw strikes well enough. Lohse at least could have thrown three quarter or made simulated game pitches which would have at least been strikes. He was putting out the same effort.
2. Tony: 'I don't want to burn the bullpen in case I need them tomorrow' Ryan Franklin and Jason Motte each only pitching one inning, even though they are both capable of going more because they were not used the last two days.
the argument: Who cares about tomorrow, if you win today, you don't have to win tomorrow. Tomorrow you might get 8 innings of shut out work out of your starter, or maybe your lineup gives you 8 runs in the first 4 innings, or maybe you get blown out early. You don't need to win tomorrow if you can win tonight's tied ball game.
3. Bottom of the 19th. Ryan Ludwick leads off the inning with a walk facing Frankie Rodriguez
The next batter is Pujols who has been intentionally walked all night because the cleanup hitter, Matt Holliday was pulled in the 10th inning, and the pitcher spot has been hitting cleanup. So with first base finally occupied. What does Tony put on? the hit and run. The one time you actually have first base occupied, and the one guy at the plate that can end this game. You want the runner to not only leave first base, but put the hitter in a situation where he is forced to chase a pitch, regardless if it is good or not.
Pujols swung and missed, and Ludwick was thrown out. Even if he steals the bag successfully, Pujols is still going to be intentionally walked any way, leaving Lohse up to the plate.
These are only examples, I could do a hell of a lot more. But this is just one game. There is a reason Tony has a very poor career mark in extra inning games.
He is treated like a great baseball mind, but he really isn't.
These are not the moves by a great baseball mind, I'm sorry.
Maybe a middle infielder that can bat right handed, possibly a right handed bench bat.
Adam Wainwright extension maybe?
Possible trade of Matt Adams.
A very very quiet off-season for us.
I think they have every intent on trading Skip after the two sides decided it would be best for both. Dodgers want him.
That said I won't be surprised at all if a Skip for Punto straight up trade happens. Same positions (dodgers want skip for 2B) same contract. Same years left and same money. Wouldn't be surprised at all since Punto fits everything they want. A guy who can bat right handed (switch) can play good defense at both positions up the middle.
It also works because we have to give Furcal and Beltran off time. Nights Furcal is off play Punto. Nights Beltran is off play carpenter in RF. Punto or Descalso at 2B. Nights Beltran and furcal are both off or injured play them all.
Not a perfect situation as Punto isn't a great hitter but he's more than a solid player and all it takes is giving up a guy who while many fans love him the organization doesn't seem to want him.
I would then replace Robinson with someone with more power but that's optional. Bench would be a combination of
Carpenter (if not starting)
Another player with power who can play outfield, specifically center