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Albert Pujols on Tony La Russa: “He’s like a father to me”

Nov 2, 2011, 12:16 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins v St Louis Cardinals Getty Images

Albert Pujols released a statement addressing Tony La Russa’s retirement:

I’d like to congratulate Tony on his amazing Hall of Fame career. He’s been like a father to me and in my opinion, is one of the greatest managers in the history of the game. I’ve been blessed to be able to learn from Tony for the past 11 years and I wish him well on his retirement.

La Russa is the only manager Pujols has played for as a major leaguer and earlier this week David Eckstein opined that Pujols would re-sign with the Cardinals if they promote third base coach Jose Oquendo to replace him. Ultimately the dollars and years will probably determine if Pujols stays in St. Louis, but it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals not taking his preferences seriously when choosing La Russa’s successor.

  1. cintiphil - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    More good news for the Central Division. It may be that this retirement is enough to get Albert to sign with another team. Others in the division may have a chance then!

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:22 PM

      Wait a second Cincy. There are several ways to look at this. One of which is…wouldn’t having a Guy in the Central the caliber of A.P. reflect well on the divsion?

      • cintiphil - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:34 PM

        We don’t care about reflecting well in the division, unless it is the Reds doing it.

  2. shea801 - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Hey, what are you talking about! The Brewers won the division!

    I’m still so giddy over the Cards winning. Best part has to be the call I get from my Dad: “I told you they were gonna win! Always listen to your father!” lol

    • paperlions - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      I think what he is talking about is that Fielder is already not going to be back with the Brewers and their lineup is going to be very thin now, and if Pujols also were to leave that it may give other NL central teams a better chance at the division title…..none of which will matter because Pujols won’t be leaving.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:18 PM

        Paper: I certainly wish I was confident as you are with regards to last part of your post.
        With that in mind….Oquendo it is huh?

      • paperlions - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:25 PM

        I wish I was that confident, too.

      • spudchukar - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:28 PM

        I know this will fall into the wishful thinking category, but how about a Reyes signing. Yes, I mean with Albert. Also, Buehrle has often been quoted as wanting to play in St. Louis. I know we are set with Lohse and Westbrook, and they are signed but another lefty who is known to keep teams in games sure is tempting.

      • paperlions - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:39 PM

        I would love to see them go after Reyes and to Buehrle (as well as AP)…..but wishing for that makes me feel like a Yankee or Red Sox fan….eww, I gotta go take another shower.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:47 PM

        Yeah…Buehrle has a St. Louis connection as well. I just don’t see how they can afford Reyes…Buehrle…AND A.P. I mean…I think it is a forgone conclusion we are going to lose Edwin as a result of putting all of our energy and monies into signing #5. I fully expect (should #5 be signed)….to see Furcal come back (at a pittance of what the Dodgers paid him) and Lance Lynn in the starting rotation next year.

      • paperlions - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        I’d like to see Lynn get a shot….but with Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia, Lohse, and Westbrook…he may have to wait for an injury to get it…and hope that for some strange reason they don’t throw McClellan back in there.

    • cintiphil - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      The Brewers are the division winners, however, they wer not the best team in the division in Sept and Oc, when it counts.

  3. spudchukar - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Lynn was awful special out of the pen, and he may be a (good the first time through the line-up type), who is better suited as a reliever. Lets face it he didn’t exactly sparkle in the Minors.

    I wonder how much money a team makes by winning the WS, especially in the fashion they did? I do not even know where to begin to Google that.

    Lets tell Albert he can have about 15% of the Cards, assure him Oquendo will manage, promise to bring in Reyes at short, sign Buehrle, take a flyer on Sizemore, and offer him 28 mil for 8 yrs with an option. Sure I”m dreamin’ but stranger things have happened, and as a still ebullient Cards fan I speak with authority.

  4. okwhitefalcon - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    I’m resigned to the fact that life without AP may very well happen, it never should have gotten to this point but it has.

    I’m personally not sold on Oquendo but would obviously welcome the notion if it had positive bearing on AP staying.

    I’d love to see Lynn get a rotation shot if (when) Lohse and/or Westbrook implode although he’s a fine righty bridge to Motte. It sounds as though they project Scrabble as a starter on down the road as well even though he’s a helluva bullpen weapon as it stands now.

    It’s going to be a piviotal off season for sure, gotta love the Hot Stove…they didn’t give us alot of time to enjoy the World Series now did they?

    • paperlions - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:37 PM

      Scrabble’s control and inability to get righties out will be big obstacles to overcome if they want to try to start him….at a minimum, he’d have to develop a new weapon against righties.

      TLR is very demanding, assuming there is substance by the large number of rumors of him grooming Oquendo to be a manager, it seems unlikely that he would put forth such an effort on someone he didn’t think very highly of and that he didn’t think could do the job very well….I realize he could be wrong, but that apparent opinion should count for something….right? Plus, Oquendo has been with the Cardinals for so long, that the FO must have a good feel for him, right? If they choose to go with him, that would be based on several truckloads more information than anyone else they might hire.

      • okwhitefalcon - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:48 PM

        Scrabble’s definitely going to have to develop an out pitch against righties to justify
        a future starting role, if not he’s destined to be a lefty specialist.

        They obviously have tthe info to make an informed decision on Oquendo, if he gets the shot – good for him. He’s paid his dues and does seem be certain players man of choice.

        That said, I don’t see Dewitt letting the inmates run the asylum – unless said inmate is Albert Pujols I suppose.

      • spudchukar - Nov 2, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        There is no doubt that Oquendo deserves the role, and one would have to believe he is as ready as he ever will be. His connection to Pujols and Molina might develop into a problem, but if he keeps Duncan and Pettini, I bet the chances of him being overrun by their status is less of a problem. I fear resentment in those two though if he isn’t named. All in all I say we give him a shot.

  5. mondzy805 - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    He’s all but gone, StL. Tony got out at the perfect time. Go get your money Albert. You earned that right.

  6. plmathfoto - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    Lessee Daddy TLR protected Canseco & McGwire, then maybe Albert the same way PED. Sure hope not, but let’s be realistic here, can’t believe the way the reporters turned a blind eye to the bash/roid brothers back then, and very few question Albert…

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:55 AM

      Do you think the lack of questions and/or accusations might have something to do with the fact they NOW test for such things on a regular basis. I remeber a couple of years ago (when testing was well under way)…a reporter asking A.P. about suspicions. A.P. was visibly pissed at the question and then went on to state he was test 30+ times…THIRTY over that very summer. Then…he left the interview stating if he was ever to have cheated he would give ALL of his salary back (well…to charity anyway). That statement (and the amount of times he acknowledged being tested over the summer)…is good enough for me!

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