Tony La Russa ended the usual postseason suspense, agreeing to a 16th season as St. Louis Cardinals manager.
The team announced a deal yesterday that included a mutual option for the 2012 season. Financial terms were not disclosed on the new contract, finalized 15 days after the end of a disappointing season that left the 66-year-old La Russa wondering if he’d worn out his welcome.
“For the last 10 days or so, Tony and I have had daily dialogue,’’ general manager John Mozeliak said. “And I’m happy to report that we’re welcoming him back.’’
Bullpen coach Marty Mason will not be retained, but the rest of the coaching staff will be offered contracts this week.
La Russa has a franchise-record 1,318 wins since joining the team as manager in 1996 and is third on the major league career victory list, needing 126 wins to pass John McGraw for second place. He has managed 4,935 games, second on the list.
The Cardinals have won eight division titles, two National League pennants, and a World Series title in 2006 under La Russa, but the franchise has not made it to the postseason in three of the last four seasons.
The Cardinals were heavily favored to win the NL Central but collapsed the final two months and were 86-76, five games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central. Since driving home to northern California, La Russa had been in daily discussions with the team.
Apparently, a sticking point was security for the coaching staff. Pitching coach Dave Duncan, who has been with La Russa for 28 seasons, said recently he’d like to coach three more years.