Tony La Russa employs political decoys

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Strong leaders have used political decoys for centuries. While primarily a security tool/assassination defense, political decoys can be an effective means of political control as well.

Indeed, if prudently deployed, they can make the leader appear more robust and active than he otherwise is, showing up on battle lines, shaking his fist defiantly at those accursed rebel fighters in the morning and appearing at the unveiling of the 50-foot statue in his likeness at the central square of the capital city that same afternoon (with statue portraying the leader shaking his fist defiantly at those accursed rebel fighters).

It’s really a fascinating concept, even if it’s one that I was wholly unaware of until the highly underrated movie “Moon over Parador” was released in 1988.

In related news, Tony La Russa is a strong leader who, at present, is somewhat incapacitated. Taking a page from the book of Manuel Noriega, Raoul Cédras, Enver Hoxha, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein and Kevin Kline in the movie “Dave,” La Russa employed a decoy at the exchange of lineup cards before this afternoon’s Cubs-Cardinals game.

While the information is highly classified, our spies tell us that the decoy is actually Kyle Lohse in a wig.  Which, if it wasn’t evident from the pic to the upper right — a screencap posted to Twitter by @sportshuman — is clearly evident based on the tattoos in the pic below, posted to Twitter by our own Drew Sliva:

Get well soon, Dear Leader!

UPDATE:  And now video!

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.