Cheap Seats

Rumor Mill: Boston covets La Russa to be new manager

While the 2012 Cardinals keep turning circles in the National League Central race, the coaching staff that led the 2011 version of the team to the World Series promised land is suddenly a hot property.

Talk in Boston, where it seems only a matter of time until unpopular manager Bobby Valentine gets the ax, is that former Redbirds skipper Tony La Russa would look nice with a Red Sox cap on his head.

Meanwhile, Houston has fired manager Brad Mills and two 2011 Cardinals coaches, Jose Oquendo and Joe Pettini could be on the short list of candidates to manage that rebuilding club in 2013.

La Russa, who will soon be 68, would add a lot of credibility on the BoSox bench, something that is sorely lacking during the Valentine reign. Personally, I'd lost any respect I had for Valentine when he was skipper with the Mets and pulled the bush league stunt of putting on a fake mustache to disguise himself so he could stay on the bench after he had been ejected from a game. But his stirring the pot by bad mouthing the Yankees in spring training followed by his implementation of arbitrary and nonsensical rules in the Boston clubhouse seemed to push the Red Sox players over the edge.

But I can't see La Russa being interested in stepping into that hornets nest.

The Red Sox are an aging, overpriced team that seems to be firmly on the downswing. Since La Russa's age dictates he'd be a short-term fix, wouldn't it make more sense for him to join a club that's in position to win a championship in the next year or two?

Why would any manager want to take over a team that just had a mutiny against its former skipper. Colby Rasmus, Brendan Ryan and Tyler Greene will tell you that La Russa isn't exactly known for coddling needy, emotionally fragile players. So, in that regard, Boston would seem like the last place he would go.

And let's not forget that La Russa stepped away from the Cardinals to be with his family in California. Boston is a heckuva lot farther from California than St. Louis.

If the skipper of the reigning World Series champs wanted to come back, I think we'd be much more likely to see him behind the bench of a certain American League team in southern California where his all-time favorite player now resides. Mike Scioscia is said to be on the bad list of owner Arte Moreno since the team, which invested a couple hundred million in free agents over the winter, has largely laid an egg this year.

Scioscia is a guy I could see landing in Boston because of his steady handed reputation. And if that happened, maybe Anaheim would be enticing enough to lure La Russa out of retirement.

Oquendo, still with the Cardinals, has a reputation for teaching young players solid fundamental baseball. And that's a talent the Astros could use with a roster that's currently largely made up of Class AA quality players.

Pettini is already on board in Houston where he landed as the bench coach after the Redbirds decided not to retain him in the same position. Pettini tried unsuccessfully to interview for the Cardinals skipper job that went to Mike Matheny.

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