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Sunday, November 11
Updated: November 13, 4:27 PM ET
McGwire recruiting successor in St. Louis? news services

Was Mark McGwire's announced retirement Sunday night just part of clearing the way for Jason Giambi to join the St. Louis Cardinals?

Jason Giambi

Mark McGwire

Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday he's heard from Jason Giambi's agent and there is mutual interest in signing the free-agent first baseman.

"I told (agent Arn Tellem) we do have interest, but I have no idea what kind of money it's going to take," Jocketty told the newspaper. "We're not in position to spend much money."

According to the newspaper, it is McGwire who is trying to recruit Giambi to St. Louis.

"(Tellem) said McGwire did a great selling job," Jocketty told the Post-Dispatch, referring to Giambi's interest in St. Louis.

In part of his statement Sunday night to ESPN, McGwire hinted at his departure possibly helping the Cardinals land someone of Giambi's caliber.

"After a considerable discussion with those close to me, I have decided not to sign the extension, as I am unable to perform at a level equal to the salary the organization would be paying me," McGwire said in a statement. "I believe I owe it to the Cardinals and the fans of St. Louis to step aside, so a talented free agent can be brought in as the final piece of what I expect can be a World Championship-caliber team."

Giambi, considered to be among the most-sought free agents, hit .342 with 38 homers and 120 RBI for the Oakland Athletics last season.

The report said Jocketty got the impression that the Cardinals are the only middle-market team among a limited number of teams in which Giambi has an interest. The Mets and Yankees reportedly also are on Giambi's list.

McGwire's retirement puts St. Louis in the market for a power-hitting first baseman.

The Cardinals would have had to significantly trim their payroll if McGwire had decided to return, Jocketty said.

"I don't know what we would do if he comes back. We'd be way over budget," Jocketty told the paper. "Either way, we might have to re-do some contracts."

Jocketty reportedly said he had been in contact with agents for free-agents relievers Jason Isringhausen of Oakland, Jeff Shaw of Los Angeles and Steve Karsay of Atlanta.

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