Cardinals say they want decision from La Russa

While methodically mulling whether he'll commit to a 13th season as Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa said Tuesday he won't make a decision until he's given an idea who St. Louis' new general manager will be.

Team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday that whatever La Russa intends to do, the Cardinals want to "know something relatively soon."

"It's not open-ended," DeWitt told the newspaper. "If Tony's not coming back, we need to look for other candidates."

However, in an interview with the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday, La Russa said he needs to know who his direct boss will be. Walt Jocketty was ousted last week after a 13-year run as St. Louis' head of baseball operations.

"When you think about it, that's the sensible thing for the organization," La Russa told the newspaper for a story posted on its Web site Tuesday afternoon. "The GM is the guy I would work for directly. So why would I get in a situation where the manager is not the guy who [the new GM] would hire?"

La Russa also acknowledged having a Monday conversation with DeWitt on the matter.

DeWitt, in his Monday interview with the Post-Dispatch, said he did not give a deadline for La Russa to make a decision.

"I don't think Tony needs to hear more from me," DeWitt said. "I informed him we were going about the GM search. I didn't tell him he needed to let me know today or tomorrow, but it needs to be a reasonably short period of time. I think he understands that."

According to the paper, La Russa said he was surprised to read DeWitt's comments about needing a rather quick decision.

"One of the criteria Bill has laid out is experience with player development," La Russa told the Post-Dispatch. "That sounds good. But let's see who the guy is. More importantly, let's see if he believes I'm the right guy to manage the club or not."

La Russa, 63, has been a manager for 30 seasons and has expressed a desire to continue working in that capacity -- somewhere -- in 2008. His name already has surfaced as a possible replacement in New York if the Yankees decide not to renew Joe Torre's contract.

According to the New York Daily News, the Yankees have not reached out to La Russa. But, citing unnamed "insiders," the newspaper said La Russa wants the Yankees job and has not committed yet to the Cardinals until New York's situation gets settled.

In the days after Jocketty's Oct. 3 dismissal, La Russa said he emphasized to DeWitt the need to quickly find a successor. When told by the paper that hiring a new GM could take several weeks, La Russa bristled.

"If it takes 2-3 weeks to fill that position, we're 2-3 weeks behind what has to be done," La Russa told the Post-Dispatch. "The GM is the guy who takes charge in that thing. I would be surprised if it's not done in 2-3 weeks."