Obsessive Cubs GM Watch: Walt Jocketty Could Bring Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols

The St. Louis Cardinals of the 2000s were something of a dynasty. The Cardinals won the Central seven times, and made the playoffs as a Wild Card another year. They went to the World Series twice, winning it once. Hate on the Cards all you want (no, seriously: hate on the Cardinals), but you can’t argue that the organization knew what it was doing.

So how about bringing the three most important pieces of the 2000s Cardinals to the Chicago Cubs? Amazingly, there is some chatter that the Cubs are genuinely considering bringing former Cardinals’ GM Walt Jocketty on board, together with Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, and then making a serious run at free agent first baseman, Albert Pujols.

At least, so says Gordon Wittenmyer:

According to a major-league source, the scenario raised during informal discussions would start with the Cubs going after Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, who would, in turn, hire his old manager, Tony La Russa, from St. Louis. La Russa’s relationship with Pujols would then lead to the Cubs landing one of the top free-agent hitters on the market.

Depending on how far the Cubs get — or don’t — with a GM wish list that starts with the likes of Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman, the Jocketty-La Russa-Pujols model might not be as far-fetched as it seems at first glance. Jocketty and La Russa are both in contract years, and La Russa is said to be ready to leave St. Louis.

I don’t expect you need me to tell you how incredibly unlikely this series of events is. Even if LaRussa leaves St. Louis, Pujols remains likely to stay, as the face of the franchise. LaRussa is 66, and may be unwilling to take on a new challenge, particularly one as daunting as the Cubs (particularly where he’ll find that at least half of the fan base hates him, no matter what colors he’s wearing). And it’s not like Tony has expressed much but antipathy for the Cubs over the last decade and a half.

Also, there’s something unpalatable about taking the Cardinals’ sloppy seconds to try and cobble together a winner on the North Side. Let’s say it works, and the Cubs finally win it all under the guidance of Jocketty and LaRussa, with Pujols smacking the ball around. The Cardinals and their fans will always be able to hold it over our heads: “you couldn’t win until you took our people. That championship is half Cardinals’ property.” Ugh. Gross. And it would be a legit dig.

So, setting aside the highly unlikely reddening of the Chicago Cubs, what about Jocketty as GM?

He certainly satisfies a number of Tom Ricketts’ stated criteria, and is perhaps the most accomplished executive actually available this offseason. But he’s 60 years old already, which, though not “old,” doesn’t quite comport with the up-and-coming feeling we’re getting from the search. Further, Jocketty is close personal friends with Reds’ owner Bob Castellini, and says he’s happy in Cincinnati.

“It’s not really my place to talk about other teams’ job openings,” Jocketty said yesterday. “The Chicago job is always going to be considered a great one, but I’m very happy where I’m at with the Reds and I am under contract.”

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jocketty would consider the challenge of the Chicago Cubs too enticing to pass up. If he’s a legitimate candidate, you can slot him in the group just below the big four (Epstein, Friedman, Cashman, Beane) in terms of desirability.

Just don’t expect him to actually bring LaRussa and Pujols along with him.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

17 responses to “Obsessive Cubs GM Watch: Walt Jocketty Could Bring Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols”

  1. EricF

    Tony LaRussa? Get the fuck outta here.

    1. CubFan Paul

      ditto

      1. Toosh

        Agreed. I would take Duncan, though.

        1. CubFan Paul

          i think half of us would give our left nut for Dave Duncan! what he’s done with the mediocrity they give him is down right amazing! Seriously, Randy Wells & Samardjiza would be 15game winners and Coleman would effectively pitch into the 7th regularly..

          hmmm@Duncan’s contract status..

  2. Fishin Phil

    This is a bad idea all the way around.  If I had any respect left for Wittenmeyer, he would have lost it with this trash.

  3. die hard

    Pujols not the answer……we need a team full of Campanas and Smardjizas…hungry

    1. MichiganGoat

      Really? A team of Campanas = a team with and OBP of .300 AND a SLG of .300 with poor defense. So basically we’d be bunting every single at bat and our outfield could barely throw out a player tagging from first. This Campy love has got to stop, he is a pinch runner- that is his value.

      1. TWC

        Exactly.

        And if we had a team full of Samardzijas, we’d have to change our name to the Pirates.

  4. BRAAAIN

    A scary prospect all around. I guess if this was a plan c it would be a little compelling, but I feel the Cubs need someone young to really take the franchise in a new direction. And haven’t we seen enough of old managers giving it a go here? Piniella seemed like he was semi retired almost as soon as he came to the Cubs

  5. Mike Foster

    Ha,ha,ha,ha..if that happened I’d have to put on a suicide watch on some of my family members in SE Iowa! LOL, ha, ha, ha …

    But if it did work, Brett you are so right….it almost wouldn’t be worth winning the WS to have to put up with the Cardinal fans.

  6. Spencer

    I would gladly take LaRussa and Jocketty.

  7. hansman1982

    I would take Jocketty and Duncan in a heartbeat…Duncan is as good as it gets.

  8. Coldneck

    Dumb.

  9. Cardfan

    cruel, you are cruel…