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I wrote this yesterday:

Chris Antonetti is perfect for the St. Louis Cardinals, and vice versa. If the world makes sense, they will dominate the National League Central for the foreseeable future.

Turns out Antonetti and the Cardinals weren’t as close to a deal as we all thought.

Maybe we shouldn’t assume anything about Antonetti. Logically, he should become a great general manager somewhere. And I’m not sure there’s a better spot than St. Louis, outside of New York and Boston.

But this was a team that fired its general manager because he couldn’t get along with an analytically-inclined subordinate. All of the other candidates for the job came from stats-friendly teams. Even Antonetti said he was “blown away” and “immensely impressed” with Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt.

Maybe, just maybe, Antonetti isn’t as impressive in person as he is on the blogosphere.

But there’s a part of my brain that doesn’t quite buy that explanation, and there is some circumstantial evidence that Bill DeWitt may have simply crapped out. For one thing, Tony La Russa is coming back. And DeWitt has been torn apart in the press for dumping a solid “baseball man” just a year off of a World Series title. It’s possible that this was DeWitt compromising.

Then again, maybe there’s more to John Mozeliak. We really don’t know anything about him, except that he was with the Cards throughout Walt Jocketty’s tenure. Maybe he’ll be a great GM, and DeWitt really did make the best move for his business.

But if he didn’t, the Cards just lost an amazing opportunity. As I said yesterday, with Antonetti on board, and with Albert Pujols playing at a below market salary for the next three years, St. Louis could have become a dominant force in a sub-par league.

It’s certainly still possible, but it’s also possible Bill DeWitt just opened the door for the Cubs. Good for the Indians, I guess.

Feedback? Write a comment, or e-mail the author at shawn(AT)squawkingbaseball.com

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  1. on November 1st at 02:11 pm
    Trip said:

    He got a raise in cleveland and a guarantee to succeed mark shapiro

    Thats why he stayed

  2. on November 2nd at 10:48 pm
    melissa said:

    It’s doubtful Antonetti would have turned the Cardinals down for more money to stay as second fiddle in Cleveland. If the circumstances are good a guy is not going to turn down the oppportunity to get a GM job with a franchise that has been successful. The Cardinals have been in the World Series 2 out of the last 4 seasons, it would seem to be an attractive job. Rick Hahn the Assistant GM with the White Sox withdrew himself from consideration for the job before Antonetti walked away. DeWitt may not have been willing to give the GM as much control as his VP of scouting and player development, Jeff Luhnow. Speculation has been that candidates for the job were leery that they would not have the control or autonomy that’s normally associated with a GM position.