If the Mets are serious about evaluating all aspects of their operation, then they can’t afford to ignore Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan, the Cardinals’ manager and pitching coach. But, if this is the direction they take, it must be done quickly and decisively.
As a manager, I’d take La Russa hands down over Bobby Valentine, and Duncan could be one of the best pitching coaches in the business. I’d be willing to say better than the Jerry Manuel-Dan Warthen tandem currently in charge.
La Russa, who has won seven NL Central Titles, two pennants and one World Series, a significantly more impressive resume than that of Manuel. La Russa has been there and won. He’s one of the few who could come in immediately command everybody’s respect.
However, getting La Russa has to be accomplished quickly and neatly. There can’t be a long courtship as the uncertainty could chase away whatever free agents the Mets could be considering. Also, if the Mets come up empty they would have all but pushed Manuel out the door which would severely limit the respect he needs in the clubhouse.