MLB

Eckstein: Oquendo key to Pujols' future

Share This Story

Jon Paul Morosi

Jon Paul Morosi is a National MLB Writer for FOXSports.com. He previously covered baseball for the Detroit Free Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He began his journalism career at the Bay City Times in his native Michigan. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

After Tony La Russa’s retirement announcement Monday, there were two huge questions looming over the World Series champions.

Who will succeed La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals? And what impact will the new manager have on Albert Pujols’ free agency?

David Eckstein, who played with Pujols in St. Louis from 2005 through 2007, answered both questions at once.

“Albert would stay if (Jose) Oquendo got the job,” Eckstein told FOXSports.com on Monday.

Oquendo, 48, joined the Cardinals’ staff in 1999 as the bench coach and has been the St. Louis third base coach for the past 12 seasons. He managed the Puerto Rican team in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics.

Oquendo spent 12 seasons as a major-league infielder, and he specializes in infield instruction. Eckstein praised Oquendo’s knowledge of the game and rapport with players.

“My initial reaction (after learning of La Russa’s retirement) was, ‘It needs to be Jose Oquendo,’” Eckstein said. “When you played for Tony, you didn’t want to disappoint him. When I was playing infield for Jose, I didn’t want to disappoint him. I know how much he has put into this. When you can get a player to play outside of himself, for someone else, that’s when you get the best out of a player.”

Eckstein believes Oquendo would have a similar managerial style to La Russa, with the possible exception of being even more aggressive on the bases. Oquendo has strong relationships with many of the current Cardinals players – including Pujols. Eckstein believes that would help Oquendo as a manager, rather than be a hindrance.

“The guys love Jose there,” said Eckstein, who was in St. Louis to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 6 last Thursday. “When I was there (as a player), I could tell they were grooming him to be the next manager if he stayed around. Other teams have wanted him, but he stayed.

“When I was playing, I had a short list of who I would want to manage in this league. Joe Maddon had to become a manager. Ron Roenicke had to become a manager. Now, I feel Jose Oquendo and (Padres bench coach) Rick Renteria need to become managers.”

Tagged: Cardinals, Albert Pujols

More Stories From Jon Paul Morosi

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

D-backs drop finale against Dodgers Posted: Apr 21, 2014
Kirk Gibson on the performance of his team in the 4-1 loss.

Rangers shelled by White Sox Posted: Apr 20, 2014
Ron Washington on the Rangers' 16-2 loss to the White Sox.

Tigers take advantage of Porcello's outing Posted: Apr 20, 2014
Nick Castellanos on the Tigers' 2-1 win over the Angels.

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..