Cardinals Notes: La Russa, Pujols, Payroll

In an afternoon meeting yesterday, the Cardinals made an offer to Tony La Russa to manage the team in 2011, according to's Matthew Leach and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold.  Leach quotes GM John Mozeliak saying that he hopes to have a resolution within seven to ten days.  La Russa indicated he would not manage another team next year, but would not rule out working for another team in a different capacity.  But in the opinion of Goold, "All indications are pointing toward La Russa's return, from the All-Stars the Cardinals have coming back to the recent comments he's made about the team in 2011."

Perhaps of more interest to us hot stove junkies is Joe Strauss' take on the offseason in a separate piece.  Strauss notes that the team has a small arbitration class (first-timers Kyle McClellan and Brendan Ryan) but almost $80MM committed to nine players.  Among those nine is Albert Pujols, whose $16MM club option is a formality.  Extension talks are expected to occur after the La Russa situation is resolved.  The team's $94MM payroll appears to be on the rise, though retaining Jake Westbrook might compel the team to fill other holes internally and cheaply in Strauss' opinion.  Strauss explains the team's needs:

The Cardinals go forward seeking a backup catcher, a lefthanded reliever, an upgrade at either second base or shortstop, a safety net at third base, heft for the bench and possibly a right fielder.

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