Tag:Tony La Russa
Posted on: December 12, 2010 12:17 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2010 1:16 pm
 

Cards hope to add a Molina

Bengie Molina The Cardinals are looking on cornering the market on Molinas, as they have "pressed" to sign Bengie Molina to backup his brother, Yadier in St. Louis, Joe Stauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes .

Bengie Molina, who played for the Rangers and Giants last season, has publicly mulled retirement.

"I don't know where he is [in his decision process]. Only he knows that," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told the paper. "As far as the fit, it's great for us. But anybody who's used to playing a lot has to make an adjustment as a backup. You work so close with the first guy, if you give off any vibe about playing time, that's not good, whether it's Bengie or anybody else trying to clear that hurdle."

Strauss writes the Cardinals have $1 million to spend on a backup catcher, their only hole on the roster. Bengie Molina made $4.5 million last season.

The Cardinals have also expressed interest in Josh Bard and Gregg Zaun. The team may not make a move on their catcher until they make a decision on shortstop Brendan Ryan, who is drawing interest from the Twins.

UPDATE: On Twitter , Strauss notes "For what it's worth, TLR sounded less than optimistic Sat. that B. Molina would sign for backup $$/playing time."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 14, 2010 5:33 pm
 

Cards GM says Rasmus trade unlikely

Colby Rasmus Because of his run-in with manager Tony La Russa this past season, Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus has been a popular name in trade rumors, but Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak stated what most everyone else has said about a Rasmus trade -- don't count on it.

Talking to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 's Joe Strauss , Mozeliak didn't say Rasmus was an untouchable, but he came close.

"Every player in the right deal could be traded," Mozleiak said, "but we're not shopping him. More importantly, I think it would be very difficult or almost impossible for us to replace him. So the way we're planning on moving, he's a big part of our club."

Mozeliak said the issues between Rasmus and La Russa have been handed and it's no longer an issue.

"I don't think someone with his service time (two years) can pick and choose where he wants to be," Mozeliak said.

And that's exactly why moving him made zero sense. Rasmus won't be arbitration-eligible until 2012 and won't be a free agent until 2015. He also had the third-best OPS among Cardinals regulars, hitting .276/.361/.498 last season with 23 home runs. For a team that was searching from offense from anyone without a $100 million contract, it would be difficult to give up a 24-year old producing at a premium position.

The Cardinals, however, would like to upgrade at shortstop, Mozeliak said. Brendan Ryan may have been the best defensive shortstop in the National League last season, but he hit .223/.279.294 in 2010. The team could also look to upgrade at second base, where Skip Schumaker hit .265/.328/.338.

"There is a school of thought that Skip will produce more than he did last year. There's a comfort level of that being probable," Mozeliak said. "In Brendan's case you would hope there would be some improvement, too. But if there were a way to address one of those positions in a positive way, we would pursue it. We probably have more of an emphasis on short than second at this point."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 25, 2010 5:13 pm
 

Postseason managers in history

Bill Virdon
History teacher and baseball manager-ophile Chris Jaffe has a lengthy breakdown of managerial history in the postseason over at hardballtimes.com, including a complete list of the records of everyone ever to manage in the playoffs.

Jaffe also did some analysis of all-time highs and lows, with some interesting results:

* The three all-time winningest and losingest posteason managers are the same people: Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa. The landmarks for total games are obviously dominated by managers in the wild-card era.

* Only four men have won all their career postseason games, and eleven have lost them all. Joe Morgan is the biggest loser in that group, going 0-for-8.

* The longest winning streak in the postseason is 12, shared by Torre (1998-99) and Sparky Anderson (1975 and 1984). The longest losing streak is current: Ron Gardenhire has dropped 11 straight.

* Mike Hargrove has won by far the most postseason games (27) without winning a championship. Yogi Berra has the most wins (6) in the World Series without winning one.

* Bill Virdon (pictured) might have the record for postseason heartbreak. The Pirates and Astros manager needed one win to advance to the World Series seven times and went 0-for-7.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 25, 2010 2:17 pm
 

Duncan back with Cards; McGwire might return


The Yankees and Red Sox officially found themselves without pitching coaches Monday, but the Cardinals won't have that problem, wrapping up acclaimed hurler helper Dave Duncan for at least two more years.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Duncan, who has been with the Cardinals since 1996, signed a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2013. The Cardinals are expected to announce today that the rest of Tony La Russa's staff will return on one-year deals. That includes Mark McGwire, who according to a Post-Dispatch source will return after considering leaving for family reasons.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 25, 2010 9:24 am
Edited on: October 25, 2010 9:24 am
 

Girardi could get three-year deal

Joe Girardi
A couple of months ago, there were visions of Joe Girardi coming off another Yankees championship as a free agent and being tempted by several other high-profile managing jobs.

But the picture looks a lot different now. Girardi didn't earn another ring, and the jobs to which his name had been attached are now gone. The Cubs hired interim coach Mike Quade. The Dodgers hired Don Mattingly. The Cardinals re-upped Tony La Russa.

The New York Post says there will be no announcement of a contract extension for Girardi when he and general manager Brian Cashman are scheduled for a media post mortem of the season at Yankee Stadium. But that deal could be struck soon, and is likely to be for three years.

Also in question are the futures of several Yankees coaches, not because the Yankees don't want them back but because they could draw interest elsewhere. Hitting coach Kevin Long has had suitors in the past, and Dave Eiland could be recruited by several teams in the market for a pitching coach. Bench coach Tony Pena is supposedly a candidate for the Marlins' managerial job, but told the Post on Sunday he hadn't been contacted by the team, though they might just be giving Pena a cooling off period after the Yankees' ouster.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 18, 2010 4:22 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 10:57 am
 

Tony La Russa returning to Cardinals

Tony La Russa The Cardinals will bring back skipper Tony La Russa for at least one more year, with a mutual option for 2012, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 's Derrick Goold reports.

La Russa had been considering his future since the offseason ended and took a road trip to help figure out if he wanted to return for a 33rd year. The answer is in the affirmative, so the future Hall of Fame manager will skipper a 16th season in town.

This is a no-brainer move as La Russa will return to coach Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. With that collection of talent, contention is certain as long as the other positions average out to league-average.

While La Russa's decision was supposed to come sooner than Oct. 18, reports had the team and La Russa discussing the composition of the coaching staff. Those decisions have been put to rest, as every coach save for the bullpen coach will be offered contracts, including Mark McGwire.

The bullpen coach who now finds himself without a job is Marty Mason, a longtime right-hand man of Dave Duncan, as Joe Strauss reports for the Post-Dispatch . Mason's departure was announced prior to any formal announcement of La Russa's return.

Mason has been in his position for 12 seasons after serving as Triple-A pitching coach from 1997-99. Despite his longstanding affiliation with La Russa and Duncan, it wasn't enough to save his job as club sources told Strauss Mason's concern on the "integrity of the player development pipeline" is what led to his dismissal.

Regardless of any disagreements Mason may have had with GM John Mozeliak, it's still a curious move. He has presided over what has been a largely successful bullpen, ranking sixth in NL relief ERA in 2010 and fourth in 2009. He was also popular with the team's pitchers.

As Strauss writes:

 

Pitchers frequently credited Mason as the go-to man for mechanical issues and described the working relationship between he and Duncan as a major reason for the team's tradition of pitching success. While Duncan is typically viewed as stoic, pensive and even intimidating to some younger arms, Mason served as a folksy buffer also adept at breaking down a pitcher's delivery.
La Russa holds a 1,318-1,110 mark for the Cardinals and has 2,638 wins overall split between the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals. If he manages for two more seasons, he will move into second place in total victories as manager, supplanting John McGraw. If St. Louis can somehow cobble together a 126-win squad -- which would be a record -- La Russa would move into second place in 2011. First place with Connie Mack is out of reach with an incredible 3,731 wins in 53 years of managing. Mack's career 3,948 losses is also safe, so La Russa would have the most wins by a manager who also won more than he lost.

 

MEANWHILE...

Eric Wedge was formally announced as the Mariners manager, with a press conference to come Tuesday. Wedge reportedly blew away the Mariners front office in his interviews, vaulting him over Bobby Valentine as the preferred choice.

The loss of Wedge might just be the Pirates' gain, however, as the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review points out. Rob Biertempfel notes that Wedge is much like ex-Pirates skipper John Russell in that the two don't show emotion. That was one of the major knocks against Russell, so Biertempfel wonders if the Pirates didn't dodge a bullet on losing the perceived frontrunner in Wedge.

With the Marlins seemingly poised to leap on Bo Porter, that leaves Pittsburgh with five candidates: Dale Sveum, Jeff Banister, Ken Macha, John Gibbons and Carlos Tosca. It is unknown if there are more interviews in the pipeline.

Of these five candidates, Biertempfel tabs Gibbons as the victor.

"He seems to have many of the qualifications for the gig -- a livelier personality than Russell, knowledge of what it takes to succeed in a so-called mid-market [Toronto], the ability to teach and motivate younger players, a bit of major league experience and a [I would presume] a reasonable price tag," he writes.

In the other three vacancies for the Cubs, Brewers and Mets there have not been any recent developments. Mike Quade and Bob Melvin are still the favorites for the Cubs and Brewers respectively, while the Mets want to hire a GM first.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 17, 2010 1:49 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 10:57 am
 

La Russa's return 'almost certain'

Tony La Russa
Tony La Russa's return to the Cardinals could now be just a matter of deciding when to announce it, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A person who spoke to the manager about the situation told the paper that he would be "very surprised" if La Russa did not come back for his 16th season. La Russa has had a series of daily discussions with owner Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak, all three addressing their concerns about the future.

The front office is apparently concerned about the makeup of La Russa's coaching staff, and several of the coaches, whose contracts expire at the end of the month, say they have heard nothing about their futures.

La Russa is not expected to be in St. Louis for the announcement of his return, which could come this week before the team's scouts convene for meetings. The Cardinals would need to wait until both league championship series conclude, or work out permission from the commissioner's office to announce it on an off day. No off days are scheduled this week, but could come if either series ends early. The Mariners are also believed to be waiting for the first opportunity to introduce Eric Wedge as their new manager.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 12, 2010 2:21 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:28 am
 

La Russa undecided on return

Tony La Russa has a contract offer, but hasn't decided whether he'll return in 2011, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports .

General manager John Mozeliak confirms that La Russa made his drive from St. Louis to the Bay Area without deciding whether he'd return to managing the Cardinals in 2011.

La Russa has sent mixed signals in the last month or so of the season about returning to the Cardinals.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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