Rumors, rumors, rumors:

Of all the general-manager scenarios being talked about internally by the Cubs, the most involved — and one of the most intriguing — involves a chain reaction that winds up putting Albert Pujols in a Cubs uniform.

According to a major-league source, the scenario raised during informal discussions would start with the Cubs going after Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, who would, in turn, hire his old manager, Tony La Russa, from St. Louis. La Russa’s relationship with Pujols would then lead to the Cubs landing one of the top free-agent hitters on the market.

Depending on how far the Cubs get — or don’t — with a GM wish list that starts with the likes of Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman, the Jocketty-La Russa-Pujols model might not be as far-fetched as it seems at first glance. Jocketty and La Russa are both in contract years, and La Russa is said to be ready to leave St. Louis.

As for Jocketty’s interest in the Cubs job, ‘‘I can’t comment on that,’’ he said before the Cubs’ 2-1 loss to the Reds on Tuesday night. ‘‘I’m under contract here. I’m happy here.’’

Okay, he can’t comment. But Jocketty did say this:

‘‘I’m sure everyone feels that it’s an attractive position because it’s a storied franchise and one of the great brands in the game,’’ said Jocketty, whose teams have finished ahead of the Cubs in 11 of his 17 seasons as a rival GM. ‘‘There’s a lot of history, and it’s a great challenge, because they haven’t won a championship there in a long time. And I think everyone believes that they’re the ones that would hope to be able to break that streak.

‘‘Plus you should have great resources to work with there. At least you’ve got the new ownership that seems to be aggressive in wanting to win.’’

Reds owner Bob Castellini says he expects Jocketty (and Dusty Baker — woo hoo!) to return in 2012.

For the last couple of months, I’ve actually expected that Jocketty would sign a new contract with Cincinnati, and Dusty Baker would be fired at the end of the season. That’s based on nothing more than a gut feeling and a reading of the tea leaves.

With all the speculation about a disconnect between Jocketty and Baker, maybe this is an opportunity for Walt to escape? This could be an interesting off-season.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 12 Comments

  1. Lets see, with Cincy you have a team loaded with some very good young talent with their best years yet to come, a pretty good owner and the ability to do what you want as GM. However you have a very poor manager with no ability to remove him without the owners blessing and a fan base who is still living in the 70’s.

    Meanwhile in Chicago you have a great fan base, a historical team but it is laden with very bad contracts and no where near the amount of young talent. You have an unknown with your manager and limitations budget wise until you can clear the books…

    touch choice, but my money is he stays in cincy, signs a 3 year deal and hopes to just get through next year and then get a new manager.

  2. Color me confused.

    Some might think addition by subtraction but to me, it’s only a guarantee in Dusty’s case.

    How about some reverse psychology on Theo Epstein? “Sure you are a great GM for a team with a budget of infinity, but let’s see apply that genius in a medium/small market franchise” and then perhaps throw in a double-dog dare for good measure.

  3. Castellini has made it clear enough to convince me, anyway, that despite their differences, WJ and Dusty are both coming back for 2012. WJ will be given a contract beyond that. As for Dusty, the team better win in 2012.

  4. Like I said in the game thread last night I don’t know if I can do another season with Dusty managing. Even worse if we have a good year next year and he gets extended again. Sounds like a nightmare.

  5. If Dusty returns I’m going to have to look really, really hard to find something redeemable about this year. Mike Leake? Johnny Cueto? Sigh.

  6. One thing’s for sure, if there are other job options for Walt, now would be the time to deliver the ultimatum of either Dusty goes or he does. This could get real interesting.

    • One thing’s for sure, if there are other job options for Walt, now would be the time to deliver the ultimatum of either Dusty goes or he does. This could get real interesting.

      I don’t see Walt being that type of person. I think him and Bob are on terms where he knew before Bob made the statement that Dusty was back and Bob wants Walt back in cincy, so I guess it comes down to what other offers Walt gets and how bad he wants to be in cincy.

  7. These comments really are getting a little predictable. Why exactly does Dusty get all the blame and Walt gets a pass? This team, as constructed, was not going to the playoffs in 2011. It is sure hard seeing it happen next year as is. You know all they will do is tinker because Cincy is a small market town and we will probably be doomed to another five year plan.

    • These comments really are getting a little predictable. Why exactly does Dusty get all the blame and Walt gets a pass? This team, as constructed, was not going to the playoffs in 2011. It is sure hard seeing it happen next year as is. You know all they will do is tinker because Cincy is a small market town and we will probably be doomed to another five year plan.

      Well to lay blame at the feet of Walt is tough. We don’t know what his budget was or what other teams were willing to offer in trade. I mean sure someone might have offered us something we need but demanded to much in return. I don’t rememeber any team stating hey we offered the Reds this and only wanted this and they refused.

      We also don’t know to what extent budget issues impacted what Walt did. I mean if Bob isn’t willing to eat 3 million to fire Dusty, then maybe Walt hands were tied.

      It’s not Walts fault Dusty put out poor to some times criminal lineups…

      • Well to lay blame at the feet of Walt is tough.We don’t know what his budget was or what other teams were willing to offer in trade.I mean sure someone might have offered us something we need but demanded to much in return.I don’t rememeber any team stating hey we offered the Reds this and only wanted this and they refused.

        We also don’t know to what extent budget issues impacted what Walt did.I mean if Bob isn’t willing to eat 3 million to fire Dusty, then maybe Walt hands were tied.

        It’s not Walts fault Dusty put out poor to some times criminal lineups…

        That’s the reality of the job. The field managers decisions are very public every night on the TV. Good or bad, and in this case some were obvious stinkers.

        The GM decisions are much more hidden behind the scenes and with hidden limitations. For example: not trading Hernandez at the deadline is the latest head scratcher. While some of us would be willing to overpay for the right trade, Walt may not be ready to commit at his time but this winter if he stands pat again there will be questions (if he stays).

        If his relation with Bob is that he knows that Dusty is back no matter what then Walt’s decision may already be made to leave.

  8. @dn4192: And neither is it Dusty’s fault he was not provided with MLB proven options at SS, LF, and 3B. Much of what Dusty might have differently could well have come to no more than shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    • @dn4192: And neither is it Dusty’s fault he was not provided with MLB proven options at SS, LF, and 3B. Much of what Dusty might have differently could well have come to no more than shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

      I would disagree with LF, I think we have the players there this past year to post very respectable numbers had the players Dusty had been used right. Had he platooned better I find it hard to believe the overall numbers in LF would have been that bad.

      As for 3rd, the Reds are tied to Scott Rolen due to the owner and his wanting him. Also again Dusty’s refusal to play some younger players hurt at both 3rd and SS.

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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