Jocketty signs three-year deal to stay with Cardinals

Thursday, February 3, 2005

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty agreed Wednesday to a three-year contract, less than a month after manager Tony La Russa also accepted a new deal that runs through 2007.

Jocketty, 53, who received two awards as major league baseball's executive of the year in 2004, had been without a contract since Dec. 31. St. Louis is coming off its first World Series appearance since 1987, and Jocketty said last week he had been approached by other clubs wondering if he would leave the Cardinals.

"Walt has done an excellent job of building our baseball organization with strong player development programs in addition to timely and successful trades at the major league level," Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said.

St. Louis also confirmed the new contract for La Russa, who had announced his deal Jan. 8. The Cardinals have been to the playoffs five times in nine years under La Russa.

Jocketty's moves include acquiring Mark McGwire, Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols.

"I've been here 10 years and worked hard with the staff to build a good team," Jocketty said. "It's tough to walk away from. There's great ownership, people, and of course, the fans. And, it's a perfect place to raise a family."

Jocketty was quoted last week in USA Today as saying, "If nothing happens shortly, I'll have to look at" other offers. But on Wednesday, he said, "I am very satisfied. The organization took care of me."

Jocketty said contract negotiations got pushed back by the demands of putting together a team after the World Series. He said it was important to retain La Russa, whom he brought to St. Louis in 1996. He described La Russa as a "quality" person and manager who has embraced the Cardinals organization.

"Our goal is to try and win another championship," he said.

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