The guy whose team wins the pennant always manages that league’s All-Star team the following summer. Tony La Russa is that guy in the NL, but he’ll be playing shuffleboard or something next July. So who gets the gig? Rick Hummel writes about that over at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today.
Could be La Russa. That’s what Bud Selig, reached for comment on the matter, allowed. It wasn’t some sort of proclamation — Selig doesn’t do that — it was more of a “boy, that would be nice to see,” kind of thing which makes it clear that Selig wouldn’t stand in the way if La Russa wanted to do it.
If he doesn’t want to do it, tradition, such as it is, holds that when the All-Star eligible manager is not active or in the same league the following year, the next-place team in the league from the previous season gets the call. That would be Ron Roenicke of the Brewers in this instance. Hummel notes one exception: Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh, who retired for health reasons after the Pirates won the World Series in 1971, came back and managed the NL in the 1972 All-Star Game.
It’s a total hunch, but I get the sense that La Russa wouldn’t do that. He wants a substantive job in baseball someplace. If he got one, he strikes me as the type who would take it seriously and immerse himself in it to the point where he wouldn’t want all of the hubub and distraction of managing the All-Stars. At the same time, if he doesn’t get a job, you figure he’d feel like the All-Star job was a gold watch of a gig and that he might feel self-conscious or something. La Russa is a lot of things, but an attention whore isn’t one of them and he may feel uncomfortable doing it.
Oh well. It’s probably no big deal. I mean, it’s not like the outcome of the All-Star Game matters or anything. It’s not like it might give the weakest team to make the playoffs home field advantage in the World Series and, perhaps, help determine baseball’s championship.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.