The St. Louis Cardinals are beginning their first search for a new manager in years with the retirement of Tony La Russa, and it appears that they've already got at least one target in mind. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Cardinals have asked the Philadelphia Phillies for permission to interview Ryne Sandberg, and the Phillies will grant it.
Sandberg, 52, spent 2011 as the manager for Philadelphia's Triple-A club, and before that he filled the same role with the Chicago Cubs. While the obvious speculation is that Sandberg could replace the recently-disposed Mike Quade in Chicago, the team has already essentially crossed his name off their short list of possibilities.
The Cardinals don't appear to be nearly as turned off by Sandberg's lack of MLB managerial or coaching experience, though. They have one of the most seasoned coaches in the game in Dave Duncan, someone that could presumably help to shorten the learning curve for a less experienced skipper, as well as a veteran-laden roster that presumably can police itself to some extent.
Sandberg's developed an exceptional reputation in the game and has become essentially one of the better managerial prospects. It would likely crush a whole lot of Cubs fans to see one of the team's great players managing their biggest rival, but it appears to be a very real possibility at this point.
For more on the Cardinals, check out Viva El Birdos, SB Nation's St. Louis Cardinals blog.