The St. Louis Cardinals would be wise to invite their former third base coach to actually be the manager this time around.
The St. Louis Cardinals had the opportunity to hire Jose Oquendo as their manager when they erroneously chose Matheny. Oquendo did, in fact, interview for the position but was passed-over for the job. It was a damn shame too.
At the time, the St. Louis Cardinals were looking at losing Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols in the wake. There were plenty of rumors and speculation that Pujols would have stayed with the Cardinals (for less money at that too) had the organization hired Oquendo. We will never know if this would have been the case, but…
Jose has plenty of managerial experience having managed the St. Louis Cardinals’ rookie affiliate in New Jersey in 1997. In 1999, Oquendo joined the major league club staff as the bench coach and then eventually the everyday third base coach.
It was Oquendo, the player who played all positions on the field which earned him the nick name of the “secret weapon,” who was responsible in the La Russa days for the defensive positioning. In fact, this might have been his greatest secret weapon as Jose taught the Cardinals how to play their positions and then masterfully deployed them.
Oh, and this is all in addition to his managing the Puerto Rican team twice in the World Baseball Classic. A huge shout-out here to our co-editor, Tito, who is Puerto Rican and who loves all things Puerto Rico!
And yet, with all of the credentials to his name, Jose was pushed aside for the inexperienced Mike Matheny.
Jose didn’t last long with the big club in the Matheny era and now finds himself comfortably sitting in Florida working with young St. Louis Cardinals prospects. This is thanks to his displeasure with the Matheny way of coaching and thanks to his recent knee surgeries. Jose reports that he is happy in the current position, but surely he still has managerial expectations…
To be fair, Jose might not accept the position if offered as he has made it somewhat clear that he doesn’t feel comfortable traveling with his weakened knees and that he likes being near his home in Florida. Regardless, I would love to see this name as a replacement for the infuriating Matheny.