LAKE BUENA VISTA — A second Tampa native could be headed to Cooperstown, N.Y., as a member of baseball's Hall of Fame.
Tony La Russa is one of three star-quality managers on a 12-man expansion-era ballot under consideration, with voting results by a committee announced this morning at the winter meetings.
Joe Torre and Bobby Cox are the other top managers on the ballot, accompanied by Billy Martin, along with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, first players union chief Marvin Miller and players Dave Concepcion, Tampa native Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry and Ted Simmons. Votes from 12 of the 16 committee members are needed for election.
La Russa is the third-winningest manager of all time, going 2,728-2,365 (.536) in 33 seasons with the White Sox, A's and Cardinals and winning a World Series in Oakland and two in St. Louis.
The only other Tampa native in the Hall of Fame, Al Lopez, also managed the White Sox. He was voted in by what was then called the veterans committee in 1977. (Though he grew up and still lives in Tampa, Wade Boggs was born in Omaha, Neb., and was 11 when his family moved to Tampa.)
RAYS REPORT: The Rays' primary competition for a first baseman are the Pirates (who have already been linked to free agent James Loney) and the Brewers. … Behind LHP David Price, C Jose Lobaton may end up a popular topic of trade talk this week as several teams are seeking catchers. … Though RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo may end up the closer, the $1.4 million in incentives that accompany his $1.5 million salary are weighted toward appearances, not games finished. He gets $50,000 for pitching in his 30th game, $150,000 at 35 and 40, $200,000 at 45 and 50, $350,000 at 55. He also would get $50,000 for 35 games finished, $100,000 for 40 and $150,000 for 45. … Joe Maddon is first out of the chute today, along with Cincinnati's Bryan Price, for the annual manager interview sessions.
MISCELLANY: With Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran signed, the Yankees may look into trading OF Brett Gardner as they need another starter and a 2B to replace Robinson Cano. … Dodgers OF Matt Kemp is among other players expected to garner considerable discussion. … Top remaining free agent position players include OFs Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz.