Is it spring already? It must be, since Tony La Russa is already talking crazy. And no, he’s not going to start batting his pitcher 3rd in the lineup (at least not yet), but he’s cooked up another wacky idea — borrowing another team’s players.
(Would you trust your pitchers with this man?)
Seems that Tony is friends with Orioles manager Dave Trembley, and the O’s have a surplus of pitchers in camp (37 to be exact) while the Cardinals are a little short. So why not have some of those extra Baltimore pitchers come throw some innings for the Cards in spring training games? The idea is actually gaining some traction, and may happen if the teams’ GMs and MLB lets it go through. But aren’t there some potential problems here?
First of all, if La Russa is going to go out and let any pitcher from another team throw in his camp, why wouldn’t teams sign way more pitchers than they need, dump them on the Cardinals, and see if any of them are any good? In the meantime, La Russa is wasting innings developing other organizations’ pitchers.
Second of all, what if one of them gets hurt? Whose fault is that? To me, this is what will derail this plan. I know that the caliber of pitcher being lent to another team in this proposal isn’t going to be that high, but there’s still a liability issue.
And really, you can’t be all that excited as a Cardinals fan if your team wants to borrow pitchers from Baltimore. Here’s an idea, Tony: Get more of your own pitchers.
Peter Schmuck of the BALTIMORE SUN explains what’s going on in Tony’s head:
“I have a relationship with Dave,” La Russa said. “I don’t know if he can get all the innings for everybody, and I don’t know if it could be done, but take Friday for instance. Their guy could give us an inning or two. I think we could work it so the guy that gets lent, he is sure to pitch.”
“My gut is there would be nothing wrong with it,” La Russa said. “We’re in different leagues.”
Tony does have a point. It’s not like these teams would be playing each other in a World Series or anything, given that one of the teams involved is the Orioles.
Heck, we might as well start doing this in other sports. I’m sure USC will have a few too many football players in spring practice this year. Maybe Pete Carroll can lend some to Charlie Weis to make the Domers look better. Every NFL team can lend a player or two to the Lions, and if they suck, they can just leave them in Detroit. In the NBA, well, this sort of thing is already happening. I mean, the Knicks are going to pay for Stephon Marbury to play for the Celtics this year.
UPDATE: Schmuck has updated his blog and said that Cardinals GM John Mozeliak squashed the plan quickly:
“That’s not going to happen,” he said, chalking up the difference between him and his manager on the subject as “a disconnect.”
That’s code for “my manager is a complete lunatic.”