The Memphis Redbirds manager is getting to spend time with the St. Louis Cardinals for the rest of this week.
Yesterday, the St. Louis Cardinals welcomed Stubby Clapp, manager of the Memphis Redbirds, to spend some time with the big league club. Clapp is coming off the best season in Memphis Redbirds’ history, going 91-50 this season while capturing the Pacific Coast League crown. He led the Redbirds to the triple-A National Championship game, but ultimately fell just short of the title.
Clapp’s arrival in St. Louis has certainly raised a few, if not all, of Cardinal Nation’s eye brows. I know fellow editor, Dr. Michael Miles, is definitely interested in this bit of news as well. With all the complaints surrounding St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny, I definitely have several questions about why exactly is Stubby Clapp with the team.
The obvious question on my mind, and I’m sure on everyone’s mind, is whether the St. Louis Cardinals will replace Mike Matheny by the end of the year.
As much as I hate some of the decision Matheny makes, I find it difficult to believe the Cardinals will move on from Matheny. Just the other day, St. Louis Cardinals’ owner, Bill DeWitt Jr., reaffirmed his faith in Mike Matheny, and said he was the right guy to lead this team into the future. This isn’t the first time this season Mr. DeWitt Jr. has had to come to Matheny’s defense.
Now personally, I think that is saying something, but it’s clear DeWitt has no plans of removing Matheny from his current position. If that is the case, then I can only hope Matheny continues to get better each year. However, I wonder how many in-game mistakes can Matheny get away with before it becomes too much?
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So, if Stubby Clapp isn’t going to replace Matheny, why join the big league club at this point?
I think there are a couple of reasons for his presence. The first is having a familiar face around the young guys in the clubhouse.
Remember, Clapp had the likes of Harrison Bader, Jack Flaherty, Magneuris Sierra, Aledmys Diaz, and others under his wing at Memphis. Having Clapp around to continue to work with those young guys could go along way.
At the same time, it also allows Mike Matheny an opportunity to learn from Clapp about different aspects of those young players’ game. Matheny can’t possibly know everything there is to know about Bader or Flaherty, so why not get the information from the manager who spent time with them?
Again, it’s all about familiarity.
I’m not suggesting Matheny doesn’t know what to do with these young guys, but there isn’t anything wrong with bringing in someone who does, especially if that someone has had success with those players in the past.
The second reason for why Clapp is with the team is because having another coach watching the game never hurts. Additionally, I wonder if Matheny is considering bringing on Clapp as a bench coach or third base coach for next season. This is precisely why I mentioned the first reason of familiarity. I wonder if the Cardinals are set to make some big moves, but keep some of the younger players on the team for next season.
Clapp’s familiarity with the players will again go a long way for some of those players. The only question is if Clapp does join Matheny’s coaching staff next season, is it hurting his potential?
While that option may seem like a disservice to Clapp’s potential as a manager, especially after this year, the ultimate goal is to get the big league club to the playoffs and win. I think he would be able to set aside managing at triple-A for a shot at winning at the big league level.
I know some will disagree with that assessment, but I go back to what Mr. DeWitt said about Matheny. If Matheny is here to stay, then the St. Louis Cardinals should consider putting the best coaches around him, in order to be more successful in the future.
Hopefully, Stubby Clapp can learn a few things while he is up in St. Louis. I also hope he can teach a few things to the St. Louis Cardinals’ skipper as well.