Izzy a Free Agent? That's OK By Me

Well, I've done my citizen's duty; can you all say the same?

I'm sure that everyone out there is tired of hearing from everyone, every single effing day, that you just gotta get out there and vote. However, that doesn't mean that I can keep myself from adding my own little exhortation to that. The lines really aren't that bad, it certainly isn't cold and rainy and it'll give you at least an hour or so away from work. That should be more than enough. Go to the polls right now and vote, damnit! Remember, we live in a democracy. We always get the leaders that we deserve, one way or another.

Anyhow, enough of my civics lesson. It looks like Jason Isringhausen is going to test the free agent market. Personally, I can't imagine there's going to be too much of a demand for him, considering he was one of the worst relievers in all of baseball last year statistically, but stranger things have happened.

The thing is, there's been a lot of talk around Cardinal Nation, be it on the message boards or just good old fashioned sports talk radio, of bringing Izzy back. I have to say, I just don't get it. Look. I know the guy's only a handful of saves away from 300. Yes, it would be really great to see him get it in a Cardinal uniform.

But am I the only one who watched Izzy actually pitch last year?

I don't know if Isringhausen's problems are physical, mechanical, or mental, to be completely honest. But watching him last year, I didn't at all like the way he landed on that surgically repaired hip of his. It didn't always look painful, to be honest, but it almost never looked quite right. Way, way too many times I saw Isringhausen come down on that hip and looked as if he was just sort of collapsing on his left leg, and the result was almost always a high, flat fastball that just sort of sat there, asking to be whacked. Sort of like a Cardinal fan asking for Izzy back, come to think of it. Just sitting there, asking to get whacked. Does this whole town have Stockholm Syndrome?

Of course, the real shame in all of this is that the Cardinals probably can't risk offering Izzy arbitration. Considering how little a market there may be for his services, there's a pretty good chance that Izzy would just accept, and end up with way more money than the Cards would want to give him. That sucks, because the Cardinals could certainly use the extra draft pick they would receive if Izzy declined arbitration and then signed elsewhere.

And, finally, my biggest concern in all of this is that, if the Cardinals do bring back Isringhausen, will manager Tony La Russa be able to resist handing him the reigns and letting him close again? What little general manager John Mozeliak has said on the matter has seemed to suggest that if Izzy were to come back, it would be in some capacity other than closing.

Unfortunately, while I mostly trust Mr. Mo to make good decisions, I in no way trust La Russa to do the same when it comes to the actual use of the players he's given. There's just too long of a track record of Tony repeatedly giving the ball to players that he's comfortable with, regardless of whether or not they're actually getting the job done.

We have to protect Tony from himself.

So bottom line, good luck, Izzy. You were a true Cardinal, and a great contributor to the franchise and a local guy.

Just let him go, St. Louis. It's time to say goodbye.

And seriously, if you haven't done it yet, go and vote. I'm not joking. I know where you live.

- Aaron Schafer

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