Now that Fred Claire and Bill Russell are gone from the Dodgers, who is feeling the most pressure from Tom Lasorda's resurrection?
The New York Mets.
Lasorda's rise to interim general manager has created concern within the Mets' front office he will angle to bring Bobby Valentine and Mike Piazza back to Los Angeles.
Don't believe people who tell you it can't happen, because, in the Fox era, obviously anything can. (That includes flashier uniforms. ESPN's Peter Gammons reports that the Dodgers are considering a change for next season.)
Valentine, the Mets' manager, has made it clear he wants the team to sign Piazza. If it doesn't, Valentine might walk away from the last two years on his contract.
According to his agreement, he can't leave to manage another major league team. He can, however, return to manage in Japan. He could use that threat to escape from his contract with the Mets, who would, in this scenario, let him go to the Dodgers in return for compensation, probably minor league players.
In case you've forgotten, Valentine is Lasorda's favorite manager. He always has believed they could have the same kind of relationship he had as a manager with Al Campanis.
Valentine, of course, would want to bring Piazza with him.
Why would Fox officials be willing to spend the money required to sign him now when they weren't before?
Perhaps Lasorda could talk them into it. As we now know, Piazza didn't require as much money to sign as was widely reported. He wanted a no-trade clause, which the Dodgers, foolishly, wouldn't give him.
The next question is whether Lasorda wants Piazza back.
It's no secret Piazza distanced himself from Lasorda in recent years, much like a rebellious son would from his father. Lasorda didn't appreciate it. But strong ties remain between them. The relationship is definitely salvageable.
A final question: How much influence does Lasorda have with Fox?
That's unclear, but, as someone said Monday, Lasorda plans to be an interim general manager the way Bud Selig is an interim commissioner.
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While wondering how long before Lasorda will be pitching batting practice, I was thinking: Next up is Dana Scully in the booth with Vin, Glenn Hoffman won't be here long unless Fox evicts those squatters in the bullpen, George Steinbrenner would have fired Claire and Russell on different days to double the headlines.