Tag:Tony La Russa
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:25 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:09 pm
 

Cardinals start with Francona in manager search

FranconaBy Evan Brunell

The Cardinals begin a 10-day process to find Tony La Russa's successor as manager, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona will be among those interviewed, as will former Cubs great Ryne Sandberg, who was passed up for the Cubs job last season and will not be considered this year. The Cardinals received permission from Sandberg's employer, the Phillies, to interview for the Cardinals opening. Also joining Francona in interviews is longtime St. Louis third-base coach Jose Oquendo, who would be the best internal replacement.

Sources also say GM John Mozeliak will interview St. Louis Triple-A Chris Maloney, minor-league instructor and former Cardinal catcher Mike Matheny and White Sox coach Joe McEwing. Rays manager Joe Maddon is apparently not in play, with sources saying the club has not asked permission to interview Maddon. Maddon's bench coach, Dave Martinez, also has not received an invitation, although that could change. What Mozeliak will prioritize, along with chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., as the head the search committee, will be a good working relationship with Mozeliak and a track record of player development.

The Cards are hoping to name their manager by Nov. 14's GM meetings, which is a more aggressive timetable than Boston has laid out for its own search. The Red Sox have interviewed Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Brewers bench coach Dale Sveum, the latter interviewing on Wednesday. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington wants a new manager by Thanksgiving. Cubs GM Theo Epstein fired Mike Quade on Wednesday, so he is entering his own search as well.

"They know what they're doing," outgoing manager Tony La Russa said on Wednesday, saying he would only offer his opinion if asked. "I expect they'll make a sound choice."

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 9:21 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:12 pm
 

Tony La Russa could manage in 2012 All-Star Game



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Tony La Russa may not have managed his last game -- the retired manager could return to the dugout for the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City, commissioner Bud Selig told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"I'd like to see him do that," Selig told Hummel. "We've got to see what happens."

As we noted on Monday, the gig is there if La Russa wants it. The World Series managers usually manage the All-Star teams the next season, meaning La Russa would be in line to manage the National League and Ron Washington to manage the American League.

La Russa wouldn't be the first retired manager to come back to manage the All-Star team. Danny Murtaugh of the Pirates retired after winning the 1971 World Series and then managed the 1972 All-Star Game.

There have been other managers to retire or switch teams after appearing in the World Series -- the ones that switched teams have managed representing their new team (i.e. Dusty Baker in 2003, Dick Williams in 1974), while other times managers who have been fired or resigned were replaced by the manager of the team with the next-best record. After the 1964 season, both the Cardinals' Johnny Keane and Yankees' Yogi Berra were no longer with their teams, so Gene Mauch of the Phillies and Al Lopez of the White Sox managed the 1965 Game.

None of those All-Star Games "counted" though -- but really, would  even a retired La Russa be a hindrance to the National League? It would be a fitting tribute to one of baseball's greatest managers, and also a nice touch that it would come in the state of Missouri.

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Posted on: October 31, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:16 pm
 

Potential replacements for La Russa



By Matt Snyder


It's back to reality in St. Louis. The Cardinals got to bask in the glory of their World Series championship for a few days, culminating with a parade Sunday afternoon. Afterwards, manager Tony La Russa told the players he's retiring. Monday morning, the move was announced in a press conference at Busch Stadium.

So it's back to business for general manager John Mozeliak. Here are a few names that might be considered -- or at least names that people might be throwing around the rumor mill in the next few days:

Terry Francona - It feels like he's got to be the immediate front-runner, though this is only speculation. Francona won two pennants and two World Series championships in eight seasons for the Red Sox, piling up a .574 winning percentage despite playing in the toughest division in baseball. He needed to get out of Boston and he did, but that doesn't mean he's averse to another job immediately.

Joe Maddon - Maddon took over the embarrassment that was the Devil Rays back in 2006. In 2008 they were just the Rays and playing in the World Series. These Rays are a perennial contender and Maddon's as much a part of that as anyone. There's no question Maddon is one of the best managers in baseball, but would he leave Tampa Bay? If Mozeliak wants Maddon, he needs to sell Maddon on the difference in experience between Tampa Bay's financial woes, low fan support and awful facilities to what he'd get in St. Louis.

La Russa retires
Terry Pendleton - He played the first seven years of his career for the Cardinals (1984-1990), was the Braves' hitting coach from 2001-2010 and is currently the Braves' first-base coach. Pendleton has been connected to Cardinals via rumors in the past (when La Russa was reportedly mulling retirement) and has also been reportedly considered to be named the manager of both the Nationals and Braves at different times. He seems like one of those guys on the cusp of getting his first shot, so maybe it happens here.

Bobby Valentine - Hey, there's a managerial opening, so we have to throw Valentine's name in the ring, right? I actually think it's a rule, so don't blame me for falling in line.

Ryne Sandberg - Sandberg is probably closer to getting his first shot than Pendleton, but both the Red Sox and Cubs are likely strongly considering him. It would be another slap in the face to the rival Cubs if the Cardinals hired the Hall of Famer (he played the overwhelming majority of his career for the Cubs -- just a heads-up to those historically challenged), but should that even be a consideration in the hiring process?

Jose Oquendo - Another former Cardinals player, the versatile Oquendo was with St. Louis from 1986-1995. He has been the Cardinals' third-base coach since 2000 and has interviewed for several other managerial openings. Oquendo also served as the manager for Puerto Rico in each of the first two World Baseball Classics.

Jim Riggleman - Riggleman played in the Cardinals' minor-league system and also managed at both the Class-A and Double-A levels for the Cardinals back in the early 1980s. He's a very highly respected baseball man, but his track record as a manager isn't sparkling. He's managed 12 seasons and made the playoffs just once (the 1998 Cubs, who had to win a one-game playoff to take the wild card). Also, the manner in which he resigned this past season from the Nationals' managerial post can't leave teams pining to hire Riggleman.

Joe Torre - Um, yeah, he's not going to manage anymore. Don't waste your time even thinking about this one.

Dave Duncan - The best pitching coach in the game is too valuable in his current role. Plus, not many pitching coaches make a successful transition to manager. I can't see the Cardinals taking this route.

Mark McGwire - One year of being a hitting coach doesn't mean he's ready to be a big-league manager. There are so many more qualified guys to have the manager job, I don't see Big Mac even being a consideration.

Albert Pujols - Hey, the White Sox considered Paul Konerko as a player-manager, right? And what better way to afford Pujols than to give him the salaries for both the manager and a superstar first baseman. Plus, he's been calling hit-and-run for years! (This is a joke, by the way. Pujols is not going to be even considered).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:28 pm
 

La Russa to appear on Letterman Monday night

By Matt Snyder

Now-retired Cardinals manager Tony La Russa won his third World Series championship Friday. Sunday he enjoyed a parade through the city of St. Louis. Monday morning, he announced his retirement. So he's out of the spotlight, right? Nope, not yet.

Monday night, La Russa will appear on CBS, as a guest on Late Show with David Letterman. It's a pretty good bet the championship and retirement will be topics of discussion.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:10 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:19 pm
 

Tony La Russa announces retirement



By Matt Snyder


Just three days after winning his third World Series ring, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has decided to retire from managing. He made the announcement at a press conference Monday morning.

“My most prominent feeling today as I reflect back on my 33 years of managing and my 16 years as a St. Louis Cardinal is my overwhelming gratitude for the good fortune that I have had and the many people who helped me along the way,” said La Russa.  “I had the opportunity to work for three organizations that were all very different, but very much the same in the most important way – their drive for success.”

In a surprising revelation, La Russa noted that he already had his mind made up he was going to retire at the conclusion of the season, regardless of the outcome. He mentioned that he told general manager John Mozeliak in late August.

"It's just time to do something else, and I knew it," he said. "If we won, if we lost, it wasn't going to change."

He also said that he told the players after the parade celebration Sunday evening and that "some grown men cried."

La Russa retires
In hindsight, La Russa seemed to be enjoying himself in press conferences more than he ever had before, just enjoying one final ride. It turned out to be a magical ride, as the Cardinals would win an amazing Game 6 and take control of Game 7 in the early innings, winning Game 7, 6-2. All this after being 10 1/2 games out of the wild card in late August. And the Cardinals played all season without injured ace Adam Wainwright.

La Russa, 67, has been a manager for the past 33 seasons, having stints with the White Sox, A's and then Cardinals. He won the AL Manager of the Year three times and the NL Manager of the Year once. He won 11 division titles and twice took the wild card. He was at the helm for six pennants (three with the A's, three with the Cardinals) and three World Series championships (1989 with the A's; 2006 and 2011 with the Cardinals). His 70 career postseason wins are second to only Joe Torre, and La Russa's 2,728 regular season wins are third in history, behind only Connie Mack and John McGraw.

Love him or hate him, there's no getting around the fact that La Russa will go down in history as one of the greatest managers in baseball history.

“On behalf of the entire Cardinals organization and our tremendous fans, I want to thank Tony for everything he has done over the past 16 years to help keep the Cardinals among the most respected and revered franchises in all of professional sports,” said Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. “Tony leaves behind a legacy of success that will always be considered one of the greatest eras in Cardinals history; an era that began immediately with a Division title in 1996 and was capped off with a World Championship in 2011”

Regarding the All-Star Game next season -- usually the World Series managers manage their respective leagues -- Major League Baseball will now decide who manages the NL All-Stars. The last time a World Series manager left his team was in 2003, when Dusty Baker took over the Cubs job (he was the Giants manager in the '02 World Series). Baker ended up just managing the '03 game. If La Russa wants to manage the '12 All-Star Game, he surely will. It's just a question of what he wants to do.

As for a possible return full-time, La Russa flatly said "no," when asked if he'd ever manage again.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: October 30, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Eye on Photos: World Series parade for Cardinals

By Matt Snyder

The 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals had their parade Sunday in the areas surrounding Busch Stadium and then ended up inside for even more celebration with their fans. Here are some pictures from the event.

Also, other than the parade, here's some related news: Anheiser-Busch has named a newly-born clydesdale "La Russa." Click here to see pictures on the AB website.

But anyway, check out the pictures below. Click on any individual picture for a full size.

Owner Bill DeWitt Jr. shows off his new trophy. (AP) Plenty of fans were basking in the glory. (AP)
How early did she have to get there to end up in the front row? (AP) That would be World Series MVP David Freese (black sweatshirt and hat backwards) in the front truck. (AP)
Amazing turnout, remember, the stadium is full, too. (AP) Freese gets a key to the city from St. Louis mayor Francis Slay. (AP)
Fireworks, confetti, a view of the Gateway Arch ... (AP) Tony La Russa, Octavio Dotel and Albert Pujols share a laugh on stage. (AP)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 12:55 am
 

2011 World Champs: St. Louis Cardinals



By Matt Snyder


Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever -- this time around it's the St. Louis Cardinals. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 90-72, 2nd place in NL Central, NL wild card winner. Won NLDS 3-2 over Phillies, won NLCS 4-2 over Brewers, won World Series over Rangers 4-3.
Manager: Tony La Russa
Best hitter: Albert Pujols -- .299/.366/.541, 37 HR, 99 RBI, 105 R, 9 SB
Best pitcher: Chris Carpenter -- 11-9, 3.45 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 191 K, 237.1 IP

2011 SEASON RECAP

The Cardinals entered the spring as the favorite in the wide-open NL Central, but nearly immediately lost ace Adam Wainwright to a torn ulnar-collateral ligament. So he underwent Tommy John surgery and the Cardinals were largely written off as a serious threat to the Brewers and the defending division champion Reds. A 2-6 start didn't help matters, especially with Matt Holliday having to undergo an appendectomy. Oh, and Pujols was struggling out of the gate. But a change at the back-end of the bullpen and Lance Berkman's re-emergence as a big-time slugger helped straighten things out. By the end of April, the Cardinals were 16-11 and in first place. A bad June and mediocre July weren't enough to bury the Cardinals, but the Brewers huge surge in August seemed to end the postseason hopes for St. Louis. There was no catching Milwaukee. The Cardinals finished 23-9 and ran down the Braves in the wild card, advancing into the playoffs when the Braves lost in extra innings on the final day of the regular season. The fun times extended all the way until the World Series, as the Cardinals took down by the Phillies and Brewers en route to their 18th NL championship. An insane comeback in Game 6 of the World Series paved the way for the Cardinals 11th World Championship.

FREE AGENTS

Yadier Molina, C (club option)
Gerald Laird, C
Albert Pujols, 1B
Rafael Furcal, SS (club option)
Nick Punto, IF utility
Corey Patterson, OF
Edwin Jackson, SP
Arthur Rhodes (club option)
Octavio Dotel (club option)

2012 AUDIT

Everything boils down to what happens with Pujols. If the Cardinals can re-sign him, they'll have essentially the same team in 2012 as they had in 2011, but with a healthy Adam Wainwright taking Edwin Jackson's vacated spot in the rotation -- there's no way they'll have enough money to keep Jackson after extending Berkman and Carpenter while keeping Pujols, Wainwright and Molina. Obviously, if the Cardinals do come back with a similar team and Wainwright is healthy you can expect them to once again be a big-time playoff contender. 

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The biggest focus will be to retain Pujols and I firmly believe they will. What they have to do in order to get him to stay dictates flexibility elsewhere, but most of the biggest questions have already been answered. Carpenter, Berkman and Wainwright are locked up. Holliday already was. It actually seems like a sound strategy. Instead of taking maybe a few months to get Pujols' deal done and then trying to pick up the spare parts, the Cardinals know their budget and what their roster will look like around Pujols. It's one of the many reasons I believe they'll get him. There's obviously a plan in place.
  • Molina's option should and will be picked up.
  • There's not going to be enough money left to do much in the middle infield. They likely can't afford to pick up Furcal's option, so it's going to be some combination of Ryan Theriot, Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso, which is serviceable considering the strength of the rest of the lineup. Maybe they get Furcal to come back on a cheap one-year deal? He reportedly wants to stay and it's not like his value is sky-high.
  • David Freese (3B) and Jon Jay (CF) are going to be the everyday players all season, and both are plenty adequate in their current roles -- especially postseason hero Freese. Jason Motte will also be the full-time closer all season after showing he can do the job down the stretch. These are all full-season upgrades.
  • Keep an eye on Shelby Miller. Jake Westbrook is only going to be a bridge to when Miller can join the rotation. The 20-year-old right-hander was 9-3 with a 2.70 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 86 2/3 Double-A innings this season. It's very possible he's ready to get a shot by June or July. And maybe the Cardinals even plug Lance Lynn in the rotation instead of Westbrook at some point anyway. Expect Lynn to be used as insurance for injury issues -- or even to save Wainwright's arm a bit -- early in the season.
  • If Pujols doesn't re-sign, the possibilities are nearly endless. They'll have a chunk of money to play with an a desperate need to upgrade the offense. Maybe go after Jose Reyes to set the table for Holliday, Berkman and Freese? The non-signing of Pujols is a bridge we'll cross if it actually happens, because at this point I just don't see him not going back to St. Louis.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 12:03 am
Edited on: October 29, 2011 12:26 am
 

2011 World Series best in a decade

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals are the World Series champions, but for one of the few times in recent memory, baseball fans were rewarded with an exciting, entertaining World Series. Looking over the last 10 World Series, there have been some stinkers -- good storylines, but often better storylines than games. Here's looking at the last 10 World Series and ranking them by what happened on the field and on the field only, with 2011, of course, leading the way in a landslide.

1. 2011: Cardinals over Rangers in 7

MVP: David Freese
What it's remembered for: Well, we'll see -- it could be Chris Carpenter's gutty Game 7 effort, Albert Pujols' historic Game 3 performance, David Freese's Game 6 heroics, Tony La Russa's Game 5 blunders, the Cardinals' rally from being down to their last strike twice in Game 6 or even Mike Napoli's amazing series. It's probably too early to tell -- just like it's to early to tell where this one will fall in the list of all-time great series, but we do know for sure right now that it's the best we've seen in a while.



2. 2002: Angels over Giants in 7
MVP: Troy Glaus
What it's remembered for: With the Giants just eight outs from the title, manager Dusty Baker pulled Russ Ortiz with one out in the seventh after back-to-back singles. Baker handed Ortiz the game ball before sending him back to the dugout before Scott Spiezio hit a three-run homer off of Felix Rodriguez. The Angeles rallied for three more runs in the eighth inning to win 6-5 and went on to win Game 7 behind John Lackey.



3. 2003:
Marlins over Yankees in 6
MVP: Josh Beckett
What it's remembered for: Beckett started Game 6 on three days' rest and shutout the Yankees on five hits to clinch the title at Yankee Stadium.


4. 2009:
Yankees over Phillies in 6
MVP: Hideki Matsui
What it's remembered for: Long-time Yankee nemesis Pedro Martinez started Game 6 for the Phillies, but was taken out of the game after giving up four runs in the first four innings and took the loss, while Andy Pettitte recorded his record 18th career postseason victory. It was the last game Martinez would pitch in the majors.



5. 2010: Giants over Rangers in 5
MVP: Edgar Renteria
What its' remembered for: After missing most of the season with several injuries, Edgar Renteria hit a three-run home run off of Cliff Lee in the seventh inning of Game 5 that was enough for a 3-1 victory, clinching the Giants title. Renteria joined Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig to have two series-winning hits.



6. 2005: White Sox over Astros in 4
MVP: Jermaine Dye
What it's remembered for: Like the other Sox, the White version had a long drought of its own broken, but White Sox fans never really whined as much as Red Sox fans so it was less celebrated. Although the White Sox swept the series, no game was decided by more than two runs, with Scott Podsednik hitting a walk-off homer in Game 2 off of Brad Lidge after the Astros rallied to tied the game with two runs in the ninth. Podsednik hadn't hit a home run in the entire 2005 regular season, but it was his second of the postseason.



7: 2008: Phillies over Rays in 5
MVP: Cole Hamels
What it's remembered for: Rain. Game 3 was delayed for an hour and a half, while Game 5 was started on Oct. 27 and suspended in the top of the sixth inning with the score tied at 2. The game was completed two days later with the Phillies winning 4-3. It was the first suspended game in World Series history.


8. 2004:
Red Sox over Cardinals in 4
MVP: Manny Ramirez
What it's remembered for: Because the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino, the series itself is remembered more fondly than the play on the field merited. Despite Boston's complete domination of the series and an early 3-0 lead in Game 4 (to go along with the 3-0 series lead at the time), for many Red Sox fans, it wasn't until Keith Foulke flipped the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz for the final out did they believe the Red Sox would actually win the series. (There's also the whole Curt Schilling bloody sock episode that would be in this spot if it weren't for that whole curse thing).


9. 2007:
Red Sox over Rockies in 4
MVP: Mike Lowell
What it's remembered for: Dustin Pedroia led off Game 1 in Boston with a home run and the series kind of followed suit from there. Boston trailed only once in the entire series -- falling behind 1-0 in the first of Game 2, only to win that game 2-1.



10. 2006:  Cardinals over Tigers in 5
MVP: David Eckstein
What it's remembered for: How bad was this series on the field? Well, there were 12 errors committed in the five games and three of the five games featured errors by both teams. There was a game pushed back by rain and the most memorable moment was probably a guy washing his hands. In Game 2, the drama (aided by Tim McCarver's yapping) was the mystery of a mixture of dirt and rosin on Kenny Rogers' hand in the first inning. He went on to pitch eight shutout innings and allowed just two hits in the Tigers' only victory of the series.

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