Will La Russa Return for ‘08?
As it stands right now, the Cardinals are without a general manager and a field manager. Interim GM John Mozeliak would like to take over Walt Jocketty’s old job, and is definitely a candidate. Already he has picked up Jason Isringhausen’s club option for next season, and, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, is planning to talk to agents about the possible returns of David Eckstein, Russ Springer, and Joel Pineiro. Check out that full story here. Additionally, he has to make offers to arbitration-eligible players. Mozeliak also has had a phone conversation with Tony La Russa, however there were no discussions of Tony’s plans. He is supposed to make his decision early this week.
So, where do I stand on all of this? Well, it seems to me that Mozeliak would be a fine successor to Jocketty. He has worked under him for several years, is familiar with the system, Bil Dewitt, and the organization’s philosophy heading into the future. There are other candidates out there, but I’m not sure they would do any better. I also would like to see the returns of Pineiro and Springer, but I’m still undecided about Eckstein.
For manager, I’d like to see Tony come back, but not on a one-year deal. It seemed that his contract status was a distraction to the team late in the season, and I’d rather not put up with that again. Tony is a winner, and I think many of the fans that would love to see him go would later realize it once he’s gone. The success the Cardinals have had under La Russa’s watch will be hard to match for the next manager, regardless of who it might be.
Some have assumed that Tony will not return now that Walt Jocketty is gone. The speculation as to who the next manager might be has already begun. Bernie Miklasz, also of the Post Dispatch, listed possible suitors that included Jose Oquendo, Joe Girardi, and Jim Riggleman, amongst others. That article is here. Here’s my two cents: If not LaRussa, then Oquendo. I think he’s put in his time, and deserves a shot. He’s also a fan favorite around St. Louis. I like his attitude about strong defense, and his aggressiveness on the basepaths. He already has a good relationship with most of the players too, which may or may not be a good thing.
All we can do now is wait and see. I think a lot of the 2008 plan is dependent on who the manager is. Regardless, it’s still an exciting time for Cardinal fans.