Late Thursday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals have fired their manager Mike Shildt. Shildt took over the club in 2018 after the Cardinals fired Mike Matheny midseason. Shildt took over the club as the manager in 2019 and took the Cardinals to the NLCS that season. Shildt also won the N.L. Manager of the Year in 2019.
Cardinals General Manager, John Mozeliak announced Thursday that Shildt would not return next year. Mozeliak cited a “philosophical difference” on how to run a baseball club. Mozeliak also covered the fact that the firing had nothing to do with this past season and it was all based on decisions going forward.
The “philosophical differences” could be many things, but possibly one indicator is the thoughts of players within the program. There is no secret that those who go out and spend money, succeed more than those who do not, unless you are the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Cardinals have many ideas about filling the role of the shortstop position, and that could be where the differences come into play. Did Shildt want the front office to go out and spend money on a player like Trevor Story or Carlos Correra?
Did the front office want to develop players and promote the likes of Juan Yepez, Nolan Gorman, or Edmundo Sosa? We may never know the answer to that question but it is a starting ground for this conversation.
Who Will Replace Shildt?
Knowing the front office, Mozeliak and the company would not have made this move if they did not know where they are going. There are thoughts of staying within the organization but the can of worms can go anywhere from there. Would they go with Stubby Clapp, Oliver Marmol, or possibly even Pop Warner?
The firing of Schildt brings up another question, is pressure starting to grow on Mozeliak and Girsch to win? This team is currently built to win now minus a few missing pieces. If pressure is growing on the front office, the easiest scapegoat is to fire the manager.
Both managers that Mozeliak has hired, he has now fired both as well. So to say the pressure is mounting, would be an understatement.
It would not be likely for the Cardinals to look outside for help here but possible names could include Skip Schumacher, Buck Showalter, or Bruce Bochy. Hiring outside would be a complete long shot and not a route I expect the Cardinals to make.
Is This A Good or Bad Move?
In my opinion, this is a bad move by the Cardinals’ front office and one we will later regret. The reason your team is so mediocre this year was not because of a manager, it was because the front office did a terrible job of constructing a bullpen and the offense is very streaky.
Mozeliak said today that they want their replacement to understand the philosophy of the club? What is the philosophy that this club has? Mediocre baseball for half the season and hope you get hot late in the year and make a run?
That is exactly what they did when they won their last two championships. The Cardinals were not good in 2006 and 2011 but got hot at the right time and won a World Series.
Oh, and by the way, the firing happened over a phone call. That’s right, Mike Shildt who has spent 18 years in the Cardinals organization is told he is fired over a phone call. If that does not show the incompetence of this front office, then I don’t know what will. It is about time the ones who put the product on the field start facing consequences.