John Mozeliak and the rest of the St. Louis Cardinals front office has their work cut out for them this offseason and a coaching change may be at the top of the list.
September is here tomorrow and that means for some teams, baseball is a month from being over. As of now the St. Louis Cardinals look like one of those teams. In the third part of a three-part series on how to fix this team the subject is management. There is always a divide in fan bases but it seems like in this instance the move-on-from-Matheny crowd are far, far louder.
It has been reported that the St. Louis Cardinals were down to Matheny and Terry Francona, the now-manager of the Cleveland Indians. Francona has gone on to completely turn the Indians around. Leading them all the way to the World Series last season against the Chicago Cubs. Hindsight, right?
Back to the present, the Cardinals are in the middle of their second straight disappointing season. Not an insane number, a number a lot of teams would be jealous of. In St. Louis though, that number is unacceptable. Success and the St. Louis Cardinals have gone hand-in-hand for a while and right now things are not going as planned.
So the question is, is it time to make a move, and if they do who even for?
The one name that comes to mind and needs to be on the mind of all Cardinal fans is Stubby Clapp. The manager of the Cardinals AAA affiliate Redbirds has shown the Cardinals and the rest of the league that he can handle a team. Recently, Clapp was awarded the AAA manager of the year award. Not a surprise after the absolutely impressive year his team has had.
Clapp is already in the Cardinals organization, which could make a move very simple. He could also bring Mark Budaska along with him as hitting coach. This in and of itself would be a huge upgrade to the team and the staff. Budaska has been credited with reworking the swings of many struggling players. Being the full-time hitting coach in St. Louis could reap real rewards for this team and its fans.
Something the Cardinals front office is probably aware of: with continued success, Clapp will command more interest from other teams. If this team isn’t willing to move him to the majors in the near future, don’t be surprised to see another team come and pluck him from the Cardinals system and install him as their manager.
This would be a huge loss for this team as a whole. Not only losing a great mentor to young players, but one who seems to have huge potential would hurt.
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No matter what this team decides to do, changes are clearly needed. After winning 100 games just two years ago, this team has been on a downward slope with no real sign of a turnaround. A change at manager may be just what this team needs to turn things around. Will the front office pull the trigger on a move? We will have to wait and see.