Long-time St .Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is gone, but several of his club’s key needs from 2011 have resurfaced this season. So might the method to address them.
La Russa had made public his frustration with the man who had previously been the organization’s top prospect. Of course, I am referring to outfielder Colby Rasmus.
After some rough times, Rasmus was sent on his way to the Great White North, with St. Louis meeting stretch-run needs for a starting pitcher (Edwin Jackson), left-handed reliever (Marc Rzepczynski) and a veteran right-handed reliever (Octavio Dotel) back from Toronto.
Some will forever be satisfied with the circumstances. After all, the Cardinals won the World Series with the acquired players. Yet others will wait for multiple years to pass before making a final judgment on the deal in its entirety.
One thing is for sure. When traded, Rasmus was not at his peak value. Some of that was due to his own struggles, but organization officials, La Russa among them, had also contributed to the devaluation of a very important asset.
The heir to Rasmus’ crown as top Cardinals prospect has been pitcher Shelby Miller. Like Rasmus, the confident young Texan was a first-round draft pick and has been number one among organization prospects for multiple years now. Miller had pitched very well prior to 2012, but also has rubbed some the wrong way.
Miller’s 2012 ERA of 6.00 indicates he has hit his first prolonged rough stretch as a professional pitcher. One recent action is that the organization felt it necessary to strip away his right to shake off pitches. That indicates to me that the right-hander had not been following coaching instructions.
More concerning was the fact that Cardinals officials chose to share this news with the media. Many pitchers struggle while working on their secondary offerings, yet it isn’t normally necessary to provide the specifics when the stick is used instead of the carrot.
In his weekly Q&A session, the Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss dropped the word that this year’s devalued asset may be in the process of being prepared for market.
“There is growing sentiment within the organization to remove the Untouchable label from Shelby Miller,” Strauss typed.
Will the 2012 Cardinals use Miller to fetch a starter, a left-handed reliever and a veteran right-handed pen arm at the July deadline this year?
It certainly doesn’t appear to be out of the question, does it? The need for help in the same areas exist as does this year’s potential candidate.
What do you think?