The Redbird Report 10/23

The Cardinals sign manager Tony La Russa to a two-year deal as Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and president Mark Lamping continued the search for a new general manager, and DeWitt indicated the hunt could last beyond the World Series and into November.

"The process is taking a little while," DeWitt said. "You potentially have a phone conversation, then a face-to-face meeting. You do that (with all the candidates), circle back and decide where you go from there."

DeWitt and Lamping have interviewed Chicago White Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn, and DeWitt has had telephone contact with Arizona assistant general manager Peter Woodfork. Additionally, Cleveland assistant GM Chris Antonetti is considered a strong candidate, along with interim GM John Mozeliak, who was Walt Jocketty's longtime assistant.

Whoever lands the job will already have a field boss in place. Tony La Russa agreed to a two-year deal on Oct. 22 that will bring him back for his 13th and 14th seasons in the Cardinals dugout. St. Louis finished 78-84 this year, but the Cardinals remain the reigning World Series champion at least until this weekend.

With La Russa remaining in the fold, it's possible he will have some input on the new GM.

Mozeliak, conducting business as usual, has picked up the $8 million option on closer Jason Isringhausen and has retained two prospective free agents, right-handers Russ Springer ($3.5 million, one year) and Joel Pineiro ($13 million, two years).

But DeWitt said he saw no need to interview Mozeliak for the GM post.

"He's been here so long (12 years) and worked so closely with such a number of people that we know Mo's capabilities," DeWitt said.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--The two-year, $13 million contract given to RHP Joel Pineiro to keep him out of free agency may have surprised some, but interim GM John Mozeliak said, "It really became a situation where we had to act now. The longer we waited, the more volatile the market could become."

Pineiro was 6-4 with a 3.96 ERA in 11 starts for the Cardinals after being picked up in a trade with Boston, which had sent him to the minors.

--Also departing with former GM Walt Jocketty was Jocketty hire Bruce Manno, senior director of pro scouting. Marteese Robinson, director of pro scouting, recently left the organization to take a job with the Washington Nationals.

--While the entire 2008 schedule has not been announced, the Cardinals will open the season at home on March 31 against the National League champion Colorado Rockies and play an interleague series at Detroit for the third year in succession. Tampa Bay will make its first visit to St. Louis for a weekend series May.

--Mark Riggins, who had been the minor league pitching coordinator, is expected to take over the pitching coach job at Class AAA Memphis, changing jobs with Dyar Miller.

--The Cardinals' exhibition schedule is expected to include a stop at Class AA Springfield on the way north.

BY THE NUMBERS: 12 -- Number of batters RHP Joel Pineiro walked in 63 2/3 innings as a Cardinal.


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