The Knives are out for Tony La Russa

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It’s not new for some basement blogger like me to rip Tony La Russa a new one, as I did yesterday after his dumb, hypocritical comments about Colin Kaepernick. It’s another thing for the baseball establishment to do so. But they’re starting to.

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan laid into the Hall of Fame manager in a column late last night, and he didn’t pull any punches:

Tony La Russa, a convicted drunk driver who managed one of the most steroid-addled clubhouses in modern baseball history and today oversees an organization that at the trade deadline passed along to multiple organizations private medical information about a player it wanted to deal, spent Wednesday playing moralist, a role that suits him about as well as chief baseball officer for a major league franchise.

Passan went on to deftly contextualize the ridiculousness of a man like La Russa professing to speak wise about what young black athletes experience and what they think about baseball and society.

It’s hard to disagree with what Passan says. It’s more notable in my mind, however, that he even said it. There is a habit in baseball media of deferring to experience and authority. Often times it’s well-placed deference, as it’s undeniable that a man like La Russa has greater insight to the sorts of topics that normally come up in the grand baseball conversation than any of us do. Sometimes, though, that deference is because, well, it can be hard to do your job if you piss off Tony La Russa or men like him.

We’ve reached a tipping point with La Russa, I suspect. He’s several years removed from a job where it was folly to criticize him (or, if you did, where you could expect some pretty pointed blowback). He has demonstrated a less-than-high aptitude for his current position. And, with yesterday’s comments, he showed that, when he’s talking about something other than baseball, he’s a reactionary old man who, with all due respect, is talking out of his ass.

Now the knives are out for him. I suspect there will be a lot more stabbing in the coming days.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster $280 million, 11-year contract Wednesday night, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.