So, Albert Pujols has gotten involved in the new rift in the St. Louis clubhouse. Let me start by saying that I have no real insight into the actual fault of the Tony LaRussa-Colby Rasmus spat. I’ll go ahead and assume it’s LaRussa’s fault because he ran Scott Rolen out of St. Louis, seems to be a “my way or the highway” type of guy, and is known for being a veteran’s guy. On the other hand, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco got along with him, Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols got along with him, and, although he’s a “my way or the highway” guy, his way may not be a bad way. So … who knows what’s really going on. But I do have a reason for bringing this up. If you have a player-manager feud, who do you choose?
Sabermetricians have formed uniformly behind the player, and they have a point. LaRussa is getting older and won’t be around much longer, and managers aren’t much in the way of actual value toward a team (supposedly). Rasmus, however, is young and getting better, and young, talented center fielders are extremely valuable to a team. Therefore, the team should favor Rasmus and let LaRussa go because Rasmus is far more valuable to the team’s future than LaRussa. It seems to make sense, but here’s one spot where I think sabermetrics (Brien had an excellent post on this the other day, but I don’t necessarily agree and would like to, at least, mention the other sides of the argument), for all its positives, fall short.
There seem to be three choices, and each of them has a precedent. Let’s take a look.
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Continue reading LaRussa v. Rasmus (2010)