The fact that Tony La Russa makes an incredible number of pitching changes is a surprise to no one, but Matthew Leach of MLB.com crunched the numbers and found that the Cardinals are on pace to set the all-time record for relievers used in the playoffs.
With at least two and possibly three games remaining La Russa has gone to his bullpen 61 times, which is one short of the record set by the Indians in 1997 and Giants in 2002. And those two teams played 18 and 16 games, respectively, while the Cardinals have played only 15 so far.
Ron Washington and the Rangers aren’t that far behind, either, going to the bullpen 54 times in 14 games. By the end of the World Series there’s a decent chance the Cardinals and Rangers will hold the top two spots on the all-time reliever usage list.
Yesterday free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki held a workout in California and representatives from at least eleven teams were on hand, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo. Among the clubs present: the Giants — who were said to have a “heavy presence,” including team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy — the Angels, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, White Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Pirates.
Your first reaction to that may be “Um, really? For Tulowitzki?” But a moment’s reflection makes it seem more sensible. We’re so tied up in thinking of a player through the filter of their contract and, when we’ve done that with Tulowitzki over the past several years, it has made him seem like an albatross given the $20 million+ a year he was earning to either not play or play rather poorly due to injuries.
It was just the contract that was the albatross, though, right? An almost free Tulowitzki — which he will be given that the Blue Jays are paying him $38 million over the next two seasons — is a different matter. If you sign him it’ll be for almost no real money and he stands a chance to be an average or maybe better-than-average shortstop, which is pretty darn valuable. You might even get one quirky late career return-to-near-glory season from him, in which case you’ve hit the lottery. If, however, as seems more likely, he just can’t get it done at all, you’re not out anything and you can cut him with little or no pain.
Eleven teams think he’s at least a look-see. I bet one of them will offer him a major league deal. Maybe more than one. He’ll probably have his pick of non-roster invites to spring training. I can’t see the downside to at least doing that much.