(The Spread) - See who’s favored to replace Tony La Russa as the St. Louis Cardinals’ next skipper.

La Russa surprised many people by retiring earlier this week following the Cardinals’ World Series championship victory over the Texas Rangers last Friday. Now the biggest question in St. Louis besides whether or not Albert Pujols will re-sign is who the club’s next manager will be.

Third base coach Jose Oquendo is favored at 3/1 although former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona has the exact same 3/1 odds. Oquendo was a former Cardinal player from 1986 through 1995 and was the manager of the Puerto Rico World Baseball Classic team in 2006 and 2009. He’s been with the Cardinals as a coach since 1997 and has interviewed for managerial positions with San Diego, Seattle and the New York Mets in past years.

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Francona presided over one of the worst collapses in baseball history this season when his Red Sox went 7-20 for the month of September and squandered a nine-game lead over the Rays in the American League Wild Card race. Following the season, Boston declined to exercise Francona’s 2012 option, leaving the door open for him to take over another club next season.

The other candidates to become the next Cardinals’ manager include, but are not excluded to, Chris Maloney (4/1), Terry Pendleton (11/2), Mark McGwire (6/1), Ryne Sandberg (6/1), Jim Riggleman (10/1), Joe Maddon (10/1), Ken Oberkfell (10/1) and Joe Torre (15/1).

McGwire would seem like a logical choice given his history with the club and his ability to turn the Cardinals into one of the best hitting teams in the league last year as their hitting coach. But he has zero manager experience and would serve to learn more from the bench before he takes over as a skipper at any level.

Sandberg’s name has been brought up in recent days after the Cardinals asked the Phillies if they could speak to him about the job. Sandberg was long believed to be next in line to be the Chicago Cubs’ manager after his playing days were over but the club has been reluctant to give him a shot.

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