In my blog post a couple of days ago about Tony La Russa retiring, I said, in essence, with all the talk about the Chicago Cubs trying to sign Albert Pujols in free agency, wouldn't it be funny if the Cards made a managerial play for Cubs 2B legend and former Iowa AAA manager Ryne Sandberg. I was joking; the Cards apparently aren't.
Whoa, would that be weird or what? And, seriously, if David Eckstein is right that hiring Jose Oquendo would help keep Pujols in Cardinal red, what is John Mozeliak thinking?
Well, Mo was serious that he would search far and wide for TLR's replacement. Guess Terry Francona should indeed stand by the phone.
And, although he's not signed (yet?), is Prince Albert being given any vetting rights over managerial interviews, per Eckstein's comment?
Bernie Miklasz isn't joking about Francona. Think: He could join TLR and Sparky in the 3WS club and the WS in both leagues club. Unless he really, really wants a break, he has to be interested.
My personal take? Francona is more than just the "safe" candidate. He's got anger from being kicked to the curb by Boston and could parlay that in St. Louis. Sandberg is intriguiging as a second option. Oquendo? Unless that's absolutely the only way to re-sign Pujols, no. As others have pointed out, on baserunning decisions, he's been a bad 3B coach off and on for years. And other than Eckstein talking him up on the Pujols angle, he's never been mentioned as managerial material.
There are other options, too, like Tampa coach Dave Martinez. Terry Pendleton, who had hoped to succeed Bobby Cox, is another good one. GM John Mozeliak will probably take the rest of this month to work through all of this. Francona isn't likely headed to the Cubbies, so Mo has time.
Here's a list of several possibilities.
Maddon's not coming; the Rays won't release him from his contract and an "interim manager" thing doesn't float my boat.