Tony La Russa has said it before and now he has been forced to say it again. He is not coming back to manage. Despite those past proclamations, the future Hall of Fame manager was forced to address rumors of his potential return amid rumors that he might be called upon to replace Mike Scioscia as the skipper of the struggling Angels, via Ken Rosenthal at FoxSports.com:
“I’m not going to manage again,” La Russa told FOXSports.com on Wednesday night. “I’m going to work for a team someday. But it won’t be managing.”
And TLR is not messing around either. He went on to state that he will likely cancel his planned trip to Anaheim this weekend to watch old friend Jim Leyland's Tigers take on his former star player and friend Albert Pujols and the Angels. La Russa doesn't want to do anything to give even a hint that he might be pursuing the Angels job, a job that, oh by the way, is currently occupied by a pretty good manager in his own right, Mike Scioscia.
As Rosenthal reports, this whole situation stems merely from "chatter" coming from "industry source" which is fancy reporter talk for saying that some baseball people have speculated that La Russa might make sense for the Angels given his previous relationship with Pujols and Angel owner Arte Moreno's penchant for wanting to pursue big names.
But that this topic even came up and made its way into the national news goes to show just how heated the situation is getting in Anaheim where, for the second consecutive season, the Halos have gotten off to a miserable start after making a major investment in upgrading the roster the previous off-season. While Scioscia is widely regarded as one of the best managers of the last 20 years, there is a growing sense from both fans and those phantom "industry sources" that someone is going to have to pay for the team's struggles, with Scioscia being the obvious choice since he has been the one constant over the last three-plus disappointing seasons.
Besides, the Angels fired their hitting coach last season and their GM the season before that. They are running out of scapegoats pretty fast in LA. Mind you, there has been absolutely ZERO evidence that the front office or ownership is considering such a change, probably because we aren't even three weeks into the season, but that could change if the Halos continue to struggle for much longer. The only real bit of smoke though was a report last season that Scioscia has had philosophical clashes with then first-year GM Jerry Dipoto and possibly even legitimate personality clashes with Dipoto's right-hand man Scott Servais. So it isn't like everything is all sunshine and lollipops behind the scenes for the Angels.
One has to imagine that given Scioscia's reputation and track record, these rumors will dissipate quickly if the Halos rattle a nice win streak coming up. If they keep struggling though, expect a whole lot more of these types of rumors, be they legitimate or not.