Let's start with a quick reminder: It's S-h-i-l-d-t. No "c."
Greetings charters. Plenty to talk about today. I’ll fight through a cut on my finger from a glass I broke while loading the dishwasher last night. This is the dedication I have for you. Let’s get rolling.
Shildt’s post-game pressers won’t be the reason he keeps or loses the job, but wasn’t Sunday’s like a breath of fresh air? Explaining moves - the right moves. Explaining the lineup changes. Treating questions like questions, not insults. I was impressed. He was perhaps a bit nervous in the intro presser. But the man knows baseball, and that showed in the post-game presser. Another thing: Team officials were very pleased at how he managed that game. And with the energy players showed. Just one game. But a nice debut all around. It’s his job to earn. The “due diligence” will continue but DeWitt told me it would be great if Shildt proved to him there should be no search.
Let’s focus on the acumen, not the appearance. That said, I get your point. Hat low. North Carolina twang. Never played in the bigs. But he’s a baseball lifer who has studied the Cardinals, specifically, more than anyone else. Multiple Cardinals said Shildt knows more about the org than anyone they have ever met.
I don’t expect them to make any moves that are all-in on this season. I do expect them to try to improve the team for now and down the line. The Cardinals are rarely straight sellers, but if the bottom drops out on Shildt, maybe it gets there. If the team turns a corner — a trip to Chicago is going to give us a sign — then it’s about helping for now and (mostly) later. I don’t think anyone outside of Molina is untradeable. Some would not make sense. DeJong for expample. But if I wasn’t getting in the postseason, I would consider looking at what I could get for multiple guys. Gyroko, Norris, J Martinez, Ozuna, Pham, Fowler, C Martinez (gasp). Shop them all if the season goes down the tubes.
I think you will see a managerial style that is more appealing.
Not saying you will agree with every move.
It will also help that he is comfortable explaining things.
Plugging in his best PH for Mikolas in inning 4 was a nice sign.
So was pulling Bader from the game after the knee scare — even though Bader fought to stay in
A question about Mo’s conversation was asked but somehow disappeared. Sorry about that. It asked if Oquendo was actually offered the interim gig, or just informed the team picked Shildt.
Mozeliak said he considered Oquendo and talked with him, saying Oquendo has thrown his full support behind Shildt. Later, I asked Mozeliak specifically about Oquendo and Clapp, and he praised both but said he felt like Shildt was in the best position to take this assignment, in part because he has the best feel of the players on the team. He has managed many of the before during his trip through the minors. We forget that these players know Shildt much better than we do.
I imagine Oquendo will weigh in on this soon. He said last year that that window had closed for him. But he also said he didn’t see himself coming back to STL, and he did.
The Hicks-Norris drama, most of it drastically overplayed, had nothing to do with the decision to fire Matheny. That’s been confirmed, on the record, by Mozeliak. Now, maybe you think he is lying, but I don’t. Not when he’s been pretty candid about the other reasons for making the move.
No clear thinking person thought Matheny’s job was safe, and that future was covered pretty thoroughly here, including in a column that pointed out Saturday that the Hicks-Norris flap was distracting from a bigger issue: DeWitt was no longer backing the manager he defended for 6 years.
The assumption was the firing would happen after the season. That’s been DeWitt’s preferred approach in the past, not just with managers.
The timing, with one game before the break, was somewhat surprising.
The move? Zero surprise.
Some guys seemed genuinely sad. Some guys seemed like they needed to seem genuinely sad. Some guys seemed like it was just another day at the ballpark. The players got the news as you all did, seeing it on Twitter and TV. The result of that was a text thread between the guys that concluded they would say similar things about the firing, that they would call it a wake-up call and take the blame themselves. I asked one player who has clashed with MM if he felt like Mike lost the clubhouse. He said it was more a byproduct of the team being filled with guys who have underperformed. But yes, things were adding up: Molina clash last season, Fowler standoff for playing time, Ozuna oversleeping, and the backlash to the Hicks-Norris coverage that, while it wasn’t hazing/harassment as some dramatized, opened a look into Matheny’s favoring of an old-school way of baseball life.
But the biggest thing was the team wasn’t winning. And getting its rear whooped at home. The Matheny message had gone stale, and the endless optimism was ringing hollow.
He wants that chance. His record suggests there could be interest. He’s still the manager in most markets. That’s worth pointing out. Higher expectations here. Many good managers have been fired, and many say that being fired made them better the next time around.
Of course. Just as the search team is looking into potential manager hires. Many balls in the air right now as team prepares to enter the final 68 games. Buying for this season alone has been pretty much confirmed as a non-option.
Scrutiny? A ton. Just check these chats. Pressure? Yep. When DeWitt says Matheny is out because the team is more talented than it has shown under the manager, what if that team doesn’t look very talented under the interim? I don’t think Mo’s job is on the line, in the eyes of DeWitt. The fans, yes. But there’s a big difference there. The cooling of DeWitt toward Matheny was subtle yet clear. That has not happened in Mo’s case. DeWitt is tired of this skid, but he’s leaning on Mo to lead the team out. Yes, pressure is on.
I’m a Clapp fan, but you’ve got your order wrong. Shildt did prove himself in Memphis. He managed for eight years in the Cardinals’ minor leagues. He was named interim for a reason. He’s at the top of the list of internal options.
DeWitt praises Clapp on Sunday, and I asked him if he had a sense that another major league team — blue jays for examine — might poach his Class AAA manager. He said he didn’t have a good sense of that at this time.
Not getting the interim job was not a case closed for Clapp, but he’s behind Shildt as of now
His record suggests that.
His reputation with some players and bullpen management issues probably wouldn’t help.
Norris as closer and Hicks as setup man isn’t going to be changed without injury, I imagine.
Today? Shildt. He’s been groomed for this. And you know the Cardinals like their farm system.
If not him, Girardi. He wants back in. His relationship with Mozeliak should not be overlooked.
He will run through a wall for Shildt
First he would need Shildt to not lead a turnaround.
Then he would need to blow the doors off an interview.
The Cardinals’ most-praised hitting coaches are finally on the major league staff. Will they be the favorite after a half season? Sometimes the backup QB is the most beloved guy until he starts.
These were the guys Randal Grichuk and some of the younger players would go to “get fixed” and the question always asked was, why can’t the major league coaches fix guys?
Fair question. Now we see if they can fix this under-performing offense.
It’s worth pointing out that these days most players have their own hitting instructors, guys who sometimes don’t align with the major league staff.
But that can’t become an excuse for hitting coaches remaining in the drivers seat of an under-performing offense; not when results matter.
Matheny was obsessed with citing how hard his hitting coaches worked. The results or lack thereof seemed to come in a far second.
With Mabry, it was personal for Matheny. That was a big blind spot. When you are protecting your friend over examining a way to improve your team, it’s a problem.
There was talk of shared responsibility and this not all being on Matheny.
I can dig up a quote.
But the theme of the press conference was the FO doubling down on the potential of the team, and the belief it can play better.
DeWitt, especially, was adamant about this.