While reporting that Tampa Bay GM Chuck LaMar will be soon be fired — how long have the D-Rays’ fans (all 12 of them) waited to read those words — the St. Petersberg Times’ Marc Topkin runs down a list of those under consideration to succeed Lou Piniella.

Once a general manager is hired, which may not be until after the World Series, the Rays can start the process of replacing Piniella.

Rumors of his successor are flying, though, starting with an up-and-comer such as Yankees bench coach Joe Girardi, who makes a lot of sense, to an experienced hand such as Bobby Valentine, who doesn’t, and would cost a lot of dollars.

There are other names, too, from in house such as Don Zimmer (for a one-year transition), Tom Foley, John McLaren and Triple-A skipper Bill Evers (above), and from outside such as A’s coaches Ron Washington and Bob Geren.

The Rays are going to want someone who can communicate, is open to new ideas, is smart, is willing to put aside his ego, will accept input from the front office and grasp the concept he is part of their team.

Major-league experience won’t be as important as potential. Youth could be an advantage. A model could be the Red Sox, where Terry Francona accepts input – scouting reports, statistics, trend data, etc. – from the front office and makes it part of his decisionmaking process.