LaRussa returns, what will next year hold for the Cardinals?

St. Louis Cardinals fans are relieved to hear news that Tony LaRussa will return for another year. But he has made some changes to the staff, bringing Mark McGwire, yes the Mark McGwire, as the new hitting coach.
McGwire is known for a couple of things.
First, he is a fantastic hitter. Although he didn’t have the highest batting average in the majors (.263 throughout his career), he averaged a homerun every 10.61 at bats, the lowest in baseball history.
Now I know you can’t just be a good hitter to make a good hitting coach, but Cardinals fans will just have to wait and see how he performs in this position. 
But Matt Holliday fans should be excited to see McGwire join the staff. After the Dodgers swept the Cardinals in the NLDS, it has been suspected that Holliday’s first choices for free agencies are the Yankees and the Mets. 
But who did Holliday go and train with last off-season? None  other than McGwire. 
That’s right, Holliday relocated to Southern California specifically to work on hitting with McGwire. 
Nothing has been heard from Holliday since McGwire came board, but we can only assume that it will increase his chances of stayimg with the Cardinals, even if it will mean a pay cut for him.
The second thing McGwire is known for is allegedly pumping himself full of steroids during his career. 
Many people are concerned because he hasn’t “manned up” and come clean about his use to the public. But McGwire has spent the past years out of the public eye and recently hasn’t had the opportunity to openly talk about it.
If you ask me, I think McGwire will come out and talk about the situation, say it is in the past and move on, whether he wants to do it or is forced by the public to do so. 
For those of you who are concerned with the reputation of the Cardinals, don’t worry about it, I doubt Albert Pujols or any other player will be found to have taken steroids. 
Overall I am excited for to see how McGwire does with the Cardinals, we won’t be able to tell much until we see how the team comes together next season. 
Okay, moving on to the team itself. 
We can only hope Holliday stays with the team. Since he has come to St. Louis, he has proven to be valuable behind Pujols in the lineup.  
He said early this year that he would take a pay cut to stay with the Cardinals. What has changed now? 
The Cardinals still made it to the playoffs, which is only his second appearance in the post season. 
The claims that his top two choices are the Yankees and the Mets could just be a business ploy by Holliday to raise his price. The Yankees have one of the largest budgets to spend and the Mets aren’t broke either. 
Although he is a top pick for many teams, we have to remember his last impression on the baseball world; he had in error in game two between the Cardinals and Dodgers, giving the Dodgers a boost to win the game. 
Hopefully Holliday will stay in St. Louis and continue to give the team hitting depth in the lineup.
The Cardinals have four other important free agents, Mark DeRosa, Rick Ankiel, Jason LaRue and Khalil Greene. 
These players aren’t at Holliday or Pujols’ hitting level, but they are valuable. 
DeRosa proved very useful to the team towards the end of regular season, but maybe not useful enough to get another contract (or at least for the money that he wants.)
Personally, I would like to see the Cardinals sign Ankiel again. I think he can perform well in the field and provide on-base hitting, which is needed.
LaRue and Greene are up in the air. They are good players but not outstanding. 
The Cardinals will be spending their money wisely this season, trying to save money to keep Pujols around. We can only hope that they will put together a winning team next year.
Jeri Kohn is a sophomore actuarial science and public relations major from Lincoln, Neb.  She is the assistant sports editor.
Direct question, comments and other responses to jkohn@mail.bradley.edu.