Source: Talks going well for Cards, La Russa

A person with knowledge of the discussions said contract talks

are going well between the St. Louis Cardinals and veteran manager

Tony La Russa.

The person, who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because

the talks are confidential, said La Russa is in daily discussions

with the team about a new contract and a deal could be done

soon.

The Cardinals finished a disappointing 86-76 last season

following a late collapse. It was La Russa’s 15th season with the

team and he had a one-year deal.

The 66-year-old La Russa hasn’t spoken publicly since the day

after the season ended and general manager John Mozeliak hasn’t

commented at all.

The person told the AP sticking points in the talks could

include security for La Russa’s coaching staff.

La Russa has led St. Louis to the postseason eight times, but

the Cardinals missed the playoffs for the third time in four

years.

At the end of each of the last two seasons, La Russa left

wondering if he had overstayed his welcome and whether players were

still responding to his style of managing. Several prominent

players, including Albert Pujols, though, said after this season

that they wanted La Russa to return.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday that pitching coach

Dave Duncan wanted to return. Duncan has been with La Russa for 28

seasons.

”There’s 25 guys in here that want him back and that’s not

sugar coating anything,” shortstop Brendan Ryan said after the

season finale. ”He’s our leader, he’s the captain of the

ship.”

For the first time since 1996, La Russa’s first year with the

team, the manager drove home to northern California in an SUV

jammed with items that had accumulated in his office. He quickly

pointed out then that this wasn’t the first step of an exit

strategy.

Before departing, La Russa also talked optimistically about the

future of the franchise, saying there was a lot of promise and that

the cup was ”mostly full.”