Mark McGwire Rumors

Odds & Ends: Cardinals, Burnett, Chapman, Reyes

Links for Thursday…

La Russa Signs Extension With Cardinals

MONDAY, 11:36am: At a press conference today, La Russa confirmed he's returning on a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2011.  He also confirmed the hiring of McGwire as the Cards' hitting coach.  Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has quotes from La Russa.

SUNDAY, 8:07pm: Buster Olney of ESPN reports that La Russa, like Braves skipper Bobby Cox, may only manage for one more year.  Olney writes that La Russa's new deal is for one year, plus a mutual option for 2011, giving either party the ability to cut ties after this year.

5:33pm: Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals will announce that La Russa will return next season at a press conference Monday morning.

3:13pm: According to an ESPN report, while Olney's sources say a deal is in place, La Russa himself has not yet confirmed:

"We're getting closer," La Russa, who has managed the team for 14 years, said earlier Sunday. "But nothing has been decided. I can't tell you anything yet."

Both chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak would like La Russa to return. His current two-year, $8.5MM contract expires at the end of the month.

2:35pm: ESPN's Buster Olney has informed MLBTR, via email, that Tony La Russa has signed a new multi-year contract to return as the Cardinals manager. La Russa's coaching staff will look different though, as the Cards have fired hitting coach Hal McRae. The leading candidate to replace him? According to Olney, it's former Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire.

Cards Hire McGwire As Hitting Coach

Pat Lackey informs us that a Cardinals source confirmed to Fanhouse's Ed Price that Mark McGwire has been hired to replace Hal McRae as the St. Louis hitting coach.

McGwire, 46, played in St. Louis for four and a half seasons, hitting 220 home runs during his tenure, including setting a then-single season record with 70 home runs. For his career, McGwire totaled a .263/.394/.588 line, clubbing 583 home runs over 16 seasons with the Athletics and Cardinals.

As Lackey points out, McGwire's hiring could indicate the return of Tony La Russa. We've heard reports so far today that La Russa has signed a multi-year extension, but there has yet to be an official announcement regarding his contract status.

Week in Review: 9/7 – 9/13

Just a few weeks left in the regular season, but plenty of news here on MLBTR still. Let’s look back at the past week:

  • The Mets received terrible news when they learned that their All-Star closer, Billy Wagner, will need Tommy John surgery and miss all of 2009. Wagner does not expect to return to the Mets, and apparently the Mets have already told him his 2010 option will not be exercised. The Mets seem likely to be in the Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes mix. On that note, Fuentes will probably not return to Colorado next season.
  • I’m taking this one with a grain of salt, but it sure makes for a headline: Mark McGwire would consider playing again? Big Mac says he can still hit if someone wants him. However, it seems to me there’s another 40-something former slugger with steroid allegations who says the same thing, and no one’s biting on that front…
  • Adam Dunn hasn’t heard anything about a possible extension from the Diamondbacks, but he’s not worried about it. He doesn’t sound too pleased with former teammate Bronson Arroyo these days, however…
  • Speaking of Dunn, the Reds officially acquired Micah Owings as part of their trade of him this week.
  • Tim updated the Offseason Outlook series, with installments for the Nationals, Royals, and Pirates. He also took a look at some of the potential big-name free agents following the 2009 season.
  • The Elias Rankings for American League and National League relievers are out.
  • Two minor moves: The A’s released designated hitter Mike Sweeney, and the Brewers claimed pitcher Todd Coffey.

McGwire Open To Idea Of Playing Again

Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch interviewed Mark McGwire about the 10th anniversary of breaking Roger Maris’ single-season home run record. At the end of the article McGwire indicates that he thinks he can still play.

Today, McGwire says, he works out twice a day and still weighs 245 pounds. "I can still hit, if somebody wants me," he said. "Now, wouldn’t that be a shocker?"

Let me say that McGwire may have been joking. However, Hummel gives us no indication that this is the case.

Earlier today, Joe Stiglich reported that the A’s would seek to add power to the lineup this off-season and that they would be more likely to acquire a power-hitter through free agency. Would Billy Beane try to coax McGwire out of retirement? McGwire did play 11 seasons for the A’s and they do have an opening for a DH in ’09 along with a dire need to add an impact bat.

The possibility does seem far-fetched, but this is the type of move that Beane would not shy from. And if McGwire did decide to lace up the sneakers for one more season, this is the exact situation under which it would have to happen.

Cork Gaines writes for and can be reached here.

Odds and Ends: Foulke, Ordonez, Feliz, Phillips

All sorts of odds and ends to discuss this morning.