The rumors are swirling that the St. Louis Cardinals are considering issuing an extension to manager Mike Matheny. Can they make him great again?
The St. Louis Cardinals failed to make the post season in 2016. This much we all know. The St. Louis Cardinals had far too many frustrating games in 2016. This much we all know. The St. Louis Cardinals might or might not have been poorly managed in 2016. This much is often debated.
Enter the news that was shared by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today that the St. Louis Cardinals organization will begin their annual evaluation of the coaching staff since they are sitting out of October baseball. In the report by Goold, he suggests that Mozeliak might consider an extension for Mike Matheny as part of the evaluation.
Matheny was last extended in 2013 to a deal that will expire at the conclusion of the 2017 season. Many fans, myself included, are confounded by this news as we have posted blame for lapses this season on the handsome manager. Were these all fair? Some yes, some no. That said, the real question is whether he has earned an extension.
Matheny has lead the Cardinals in his five seasons to a record of 461 wins and 349 losses, a .569 average. This is nothing to find fault in regardless of the effort or outcome of 2016. So does this record warrant an extension?
To me, I find umbrage in the extension discussion not directly related to the failures of 2016 but rather in the failure of allowing time to see Matheny rebound from such failure. If we as fans and we as writers are not to judge from small sample size, then why is it okay to consider awarding an extension when we have only watched Matheny flounder for one season?
Let me be clear: I think retaining him as manager in 2017 is a fine choice but I am against an extension at this time. I would rather watcher his performance as a manager in 2017 to see if 2016 was an anomaly or the start of a trend.
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Let me also add for clarity that I am not a fan of Matheny’s managing style. I don’t like his middle-of-the-road safety approaches. I want him to argue more and fire-up his players more but that’s just not the man he is. I don’t like how he manages based on paper and isn’t responsive well-enough to what happens in a game. I want him to abandon a game plan and make real-time decisions.
So what should be done then? I feel that Matheny should manage our St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 but let that be a do-or-die year. What’s the harm in that? Will Matheny manage any worse than he did in 2016 if he has no guarantee for years beyond? Is that what Mozeliak is worried about? If yes, then priorities are askew.
I honestly believe that managing in 2017 without the guarantee of a future contract would be best for Matheny and the Cardinals. I believe this will help the outcomes of each game and the outcome of the season.
(Let me also admit that Matheny is not the only variable that affects the outcomes of games or seasons but still…)
So, in short, let’s make Matheny great again. Let’s put a little pressure on him, Mozeliak, and let the pressure turn the coal to diamonds. What say you, Cardinals Nation?