LaRussa Returning?

Dustin at Whiteyball took the words out of my keyboard.  “It seems as each day passes, it is more and more likely that TLR is returning.”  No doubt.  And one of the biggest incentives happened this weekend.

Dusty Baker is returning to the NL Central.

Think about that.  LaRussa gets one of his old adversaries back for 18 games a year.  That gives Tony personal motivation against most of the NL Central managers.  He’s friends with Lou Pinella of the Cubs and he had words at the end of the year with Ned Yost of Milwaukee, an incident that LaRussa is not likely to forget.  Toss in the fact that Houston is Houston, no matter who is managing there, and you only have Pittsburgh as a “down” series, and they haven’t named a manager yet.  Just imagine if they hired Lloyd McClendon back………..

Anyway, between the matchups in the Central and the fact that there aren’t too many other jobs out there, I think TLR is back next year.

Who will he be working for?  That’s a different story.

Joe Strauss wrote a story this weekend saying some are looking cautiously at the Cardinal GM job due to what happened to Jocketty.   However, houstoncardinal at VEB did point out that it’s likely the old-school Friends of Walt are the ones Strauss is talking to, and that is not where the Cardinals are looking.  We’ll see if that pans out.

The smart money seems to be on John Mozeliak taking the interim tag off and getting the job.  I’m not so sure about that, though.  I think the organization wants to make some house-cleaning type changes and would rather bring someone in.  Whether that person would agree to take LaRussa on, though, is a different story.  Ownership seems pretty invested in Tony, even though he’s not committed to returning.  It would be a shame if that commitment didn’t allow them to hire the best person for the job.

In other news, it doesn’t look like Juan Encarnacion will be back next year, to few people’s surprise.  He’s got to worry about his eyesight first, and according to the article, well, even that doesn’t look good anytime soon.

Also, MLBTradeRumors.com reports (from the Post-Dispatch) that the Cardinals are negotiating with Joel Pineiro.  I think he’ll test the market and get more than he’s worth, but if the Cardinals can lock him up with a contract appropriate for a fifth starter, I’m all for it.

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