Could La Russa Leave St. Louis?

3:57pm: Joe Strauss adds that Mozeliak, La Russa, the coaching staff, and chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. will meet this Monday. In the past, the Cardinals have waited until after this meeting to announce any changes to the front office or coaching staff. Strauss offers this quote from La Russa, regarding a potential return in 2010:

“I’ve never doubted the club’s commitment — ever,” La Russa said early Saturday afternoon. “The question is whether I want to go for a 31st year.”

When asked for his thoughts on the NLDS, La Russa said he felt as if there was a lack of energy from his team when returning to St. Louis:

“We got swept the last three. That wasn’t good,” La Russa said. “So you ask, ‘Is what you’re saying not helpful?’ or ‘If it’s helpful, are they tired of listening to you?’ Those thoughts go through your mind. We set ourselves up to play winning-type baseball in the first series. My opinion is I was really pleased with the energy, the drive and the fire we had in LA. I think we competed our tails off. They did, too…. Yesterday I think we were all really disappointed. It wasn’t the same level of chance to win.”

2:57pm: It seems like a strange concept, but both ESPN's Buster Olney and Kevin Kaduk from Yahoo Sports are asking if it's possible for longtime Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa to jump ship.

The Cards were bounced from the NLDS yesterday, swept at the hands of Joe Torre's Dodgers. While many people are focused on names like Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, Mark DeRosa, and Joel Pineiro, Olney and Kaduk have the coaching staff on their minds.

La Russa is not yet signed for 2010, but general manager John Mozeliak has said he expects La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan (a longtime friend of La Russa) to be back for a 15th season. La Russa holds a 1232-1034 mark as the manager in St. Louis, and stands at 2552-2217 in his career. Duncan is widely regarded as one of the best pitching coaches in all of baseball, due to numerous successful reclamation projects including Chris Carpenter and Pineiro.

As Olney points out, Duncan was not at all pleased with the way that the organization treated his son, Chris Duncan, who was sent to Boston in exchange for Julio Lugo back in July. Add that to a quick postseason exit, and it stands to reason that La Russa and Duncan may not be too pleased with their situation right now.

It's all speculation at this point, and Kaduk even says that he feels La Russa will stay around for 2010, but it's certainly an interesting question. Is it possible for one or both to leave, and if so, where do they end up? Olney lists the teams that could take both La Russa and Duncan on, stating that Nationals, Astros, Mets, Blue Jays, and Reds could all be fits.

What does the MLBTR world think? Is it possible to see a change of this magnitude in St. Louis, or should Cards fans rest easy under the assumption that something will soon be worked out?

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