Tony La Russa Returning to Cardinals for Another Season -- Possibly Two
The deal announced today includes a mutual option that could also have TLR returning to manage in 2012 -- if he or the team feels like it. While many Redbirds fans had hoped that the increasingly testy La Russa would hang it up after this season, his return is hardly surprising.
"We are excited to have Tony returning and are looking forward to 2011," said Cardinals majority owner Bill DeWitt Jr. in a prepared statement posted on the club's website today. "He has guided the team in one of the greatest eras in Cardinals history and we are pleased that he will continue that leadership next season."
Seeing how La Russa needs 126 more victories to surpass John McGraw as the second most-winningest coach of all time, my bet is that he sticks around for 2012. (He'd need at least another decade to eclipse Connie Mack's record of 3,731 wins.)
Still, the structure of his one-year deal (with an option for 2012), won't please the most influential man in St. Louis sports. As Bernie Miklasz opined in his Sunday column, these short contracts seem to erode La Russa's authority in the clubhouse. Players who don't care much for TLR (yeah, Colby Rasmus, I'm looking at you) can simply choose to ignore the manager in hopes of having a new skipper next season.