St. Louis Cardinals: Make Mike Matheny Great Again, Part 2

Sep 30, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals General Manager talks with manager Mike Matheny prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals General Manager talks with manager Mike Matheny prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports /

Mike Matheny will again manage the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 and this time under an extended contract. Is this the best news for him?

Let’s recap: the St. Louis Cardinals organization opted to extend a new contract to manager Mike Matheny just one day after the Cubs won the 2016 World Series. This slap-in-the-face came as a blow to my psyche, but should I have felt differently about this?

If you haven’t read my part one companion to this post, jump over here and give it a read. In part one, I complained that I was not in favor of extending a new contract to Matheny– not yet at least. I proposed allowing Matheny to stay on as manager but to let him feel the pressure of a no-guarantee for 2018.

My suggestion was clearly ignored by the St. Louis Cardinals organization and I am deeply hurt by it. If you believe that, then I have some beautiful lakeside property to sell you in the Florida Everglades.

Now under his new contract which extends him through 2020, Matheny must somehow become great. Right? Shouldn’t we all get behind him and support him? But what if we don’t? What if he squanders yet again?

Enter a few pieces of news lately showing that distrust is potentially growing in Matheny. First, we know now that several players have reported early to spring training such that they can work with Jose Oquendo at THEIR requests. Oquendo, as we all know, has chosen not to return to the MLB squad due to health and surgeries, but could Matheny be an equal concern for him?

Another piece of recent news was the Bernie Miklasz’s Alternative Facts article published today. In this piece, Miklasz does a nice job of skewering Matheny’s political spin. In the end, Miklasz concludes that Matheny needs to man-up and cease his double-standard/pro-veteran approach.

A final piece of news (not so fresh) is the creation of the quality control coach. Really? Is this what it will take to make Matheny great again? Or is this organizational tactic a manner to present the presence of a coup waiting for the time to pounce?

Look, let me jump to the chase here: why would players insist on showing up early to work with the great Oquendo (who was clearly missed last season during his departure) and why would the organization host a quality control coach if not to make Matheny great again or cut ties?

Why then spend the money, you may ask? The sad reality is that there was very little laying out there in the way of a replacement. In addition, the organization felt that Matheny would perform better under security than under pressure.

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Finally, the money spent on a manager is slight in comparison to that spent on a player. Should the St. Louis Cardinals organization- spin masters themselves, look only to Mozeliak for a prime example- decide they have tired of Matheny in the midst of 2017 or at the end of 2017, they are merely out the money for years 2018, 2019, and 2020 which amounts to approximately $2.3M.

While his extension might have eliminated pressure on the baseball front, a news article was published on January 19, 2017 sharing some tough luck that Matheny is facing on the legal side of non-baseball news.

In the article in the Post-Dispatch, it is shared that Matheny lost a legal battle against the Business Bank of St. Louis over a failed development project. The court has awarded damages to the bank in the amount of $4.4M.

This non-baseball pressure could affect in two ways: either it will make Matheny focus on baseball as a respite from this stress (and as a means to pay off the debt), or it will make Matheny less focused on baseball (and thus prone to more errors).

Let me say that I don’t want to see Matheny suffer personally nor do I want him to suffer in baseball as that would only negatively affect my favorite St. Louis Cardinals.

To that end, then, I do hope that Oquendo can work some long distance magic, and that our new quality control coach can bring quality, and- finally- that other additions (read: Marmol) can help ease pains and make Matheny great again.

Next: Infield Edition- Cards v. Pirates

What do you think? Was Matheny ever really great at managing or did he benefit from inheriting teams touched by Tony La Russa? Let me know on Twitter. Thanks for reading and GO CARDINALS!