|Walt Jocketty out as St. Louis Cardinals general manager|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 03 October 2007 12:04|
It was unclear whether Jocketty was fired or resigned after 13 seasons. The Cardinals said his departure was a mutual decision.
``I think we had a little different philosophy and vision with respect to some baseball issues,'' owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said Wednesday.
Jocketty and manager Tony La Russa have been together both in Oakland and St. Louis. La Russa's contract is expiring, and it is not known whether Jocketty's departure will play a role in whether La Russa stays.
Assistant general manager John Mozeliak was appointed interim GM.
Jocketty was hired in 1994 and took over a team that hadn't reached the playoffs since 1987. He hired La Russa before the 1996 season, and the Cardinals reached the NL championship series, where they lost to Atlanta in seven games.
St. Louis won six NL Central titles under Jocketty and two NL pennants. After failing to spend much on free agents last winter, the Cardinals faded to a 78-84 record this year and a third-place finish behind Chicago and Milwaukee.
``There was clearly tension that was reported widely,'' DeWitt said. ``While I've said on several occasions tension is in every organization, I do think it got to be counterproductive. We couldn't achieve our goals given what was going on.''
Jocketty was upset by the decision last year to promote Jeff Luhnow to vice president of amateur scouting and player development, a move that cut into Jocketty's power in running the draft and the team's minor league system.
``Certain changes are made and people grumble about it, and move on,'' DeWitt said. ``I don't think that was the case in this situation. It got worse.
``It's really hard when everybody is not on the same page.''
Jocketty's contract runs through 2008. Team president Mark Lamping said Jocketty will be paid through the end of the contract.
As GM, Jocketty has had many successes. He traded three marginal players for Mark McGwire in 1997. A year later, McGwire hit a then-record 70 home runs.
Jocketty acquired Will Clark for the 2000 stretch run after McGwire was injured, and Clark helped lead the Cardinals to the NLCS. His trade with the Phillies brought Scott Rolen to St. Louis, and he dealt J.D. Drew to Atlanta for Adam Wainwright, now one of the team's best pitchers.
Jocketty also acquired Larry Walker in a 2004 move that helped get St. Louis to the World Series, where they lost in a four-game sweep to Boston. And last season's trade-deadline pickup of pitcher Jeff Weaver proved valuable when Weaver won a game in each round of the postseason, including the decisive Game 5 of the World Series.
But he's had misses, too, including this season - a disappointment almost from the beginning.
Three starting pitchers - Weaver, Jason Marquis and Jeff Suppan - left through free agency. The only starter signed was Kip Wells, who signed a one-year, $4 million contract. He lost 17 games, and the Cardinals were forced to use a series of pitchers who were mostly relievers in starting roles. The only regular signed was Adam Kennedy, who was also a disappointment and was demoted to a platoon role before a season-ending knee injury in August.
La Russa said on Monday that he wants to continue managing, but he wasn't certain if he wanted to remain in St. Louis.
DeWitt said he spoke to La Russa earlier Wednesday.
``I can't answer what impact this will have,'' DeWitt said. ``I reaffirmed to him we were committed to providing the resources to having a competitive team.''