With Houston apparently giving Miguel Tejada the kiss off yesterday, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Tony La Russa may be interested in bringing him in. It’s more of a “personal interest” on La Russa’s part, Strauss says, but that he has been discussed by others in the Cardinals organization.
But as Strauss’ piece makes clear, that — and just about everything else the Cardinals do — is being held hostage by the Matt Holliday situation. You sign him, you let Mark DeRosa dangle, and you pick up Tejada (or someone like him) to play third. Also if you sign him, you look to cheaper options to fill out that fifth starter’s slot. If you don’t, you go harder for DeRosa for third and/or left field and your options to fill out both the lineup and the rotation expand.
La Russa was patient and measured about it all during his press availability yesterday, but it’s obvious that the Cardinals are in a holding pattern. Everything they do for the rest of the offseason is in Matt Holliday’s and Scott Boras’ hands. But everything Scott Boras has ever done suggests that he has no interest in giving the Cardinals anything close to a sense of security on the matter any time soon. When a Scott Boras client is on the market, he is REALLY on the market, and the bidding hasn’t started yet.
St. Louis is not the sort of organization that gambles, and I can’t see them watching their plan Bs, Cs and Ds all get snapped up by other teams while waiting for Matt Holliday and Scott Boras to make up their minds.
The question, then, is how much longer before they officially cut bait?
On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:
I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.
While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”
Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.
At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.