September 05, 2010
Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan is already sharing a pair of six-legged pants with Colby Rasmus(notes) and Tony La Russa, so there's no reason in rehashing the details of today's developments in the big St. Louis Cardinals soap opera. Go read Jeff's story — complete with Albert Pujols(notes) planting his flag in La Russa's camp — for yourself.
I am, however, interested to see where everyone stands in this manager vs. player showdown that has taken over the "As The Cards Turn" program.
As you read this, there's a large contingent of Twitter-based baseball folks who are ready to toss La Russa aside without a second thought. They made a lot of sense, too, because La Russa is 65 years old, doesn't have a contract for next season and it was he, himself, who started this mess in the first place when he let John Jay play in front of Rasmus.
It's also a bit easier to find a guy to wear a manager's uniform than it it is to find a versatile potential All-Star outfielder who's under team control through 2014 and Rasmus' trade value has taken a huge hit with the public nature of this spat.
At the same time, I think there's a lot to be said about the organizational stability that La Russa and Dave Duncan have brought to St. Louis over the past 14 years. A divorce from both of them might not be as simple and pain-free as people make it out to be.
Another issue to consider: Would letting La Russa walk affect the Cards' relationship with Pujols just before they try to make him a Redbird for life? If there's a chance he's Phil Jackson to Pujols' Michael Jordan (circa 1998), would it be worth jeopardizing a deal for a young outfielder who's already wavered a lot in the face of clubhouse adversity?
I don't think there's any easy answers here, so have at it in the comments below. If only one guy can be a Cardinal in 2011, should it be La Russa or Rasmus?