The St. Louis Cardinals were surely watching the news today as the Cincinnati Reds announced the firing of their manager and other coaching staff changes.
The St. Louis Cardinals have issues that need attention. The Cincinnati Reds had issues that needed attention. One of these two examples acted on the need(s) while the other remains stagnant.
If you missed the news this morning, the Cincinnati Reds have announced the firing of their manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins effective immediately today (Thursday, April 19). This change comes in the wake of the Reds’ 3-15 start to the 2018 season. That’s right, this move comes just eighteen games into the young season.
To me, the St. Louis Cardinals organization should take notes from this expedient decision-making move by the Reds organization. Please understand that I am not advocating that the Cardinals fire Mike Matheny (although I will never argue against anyone wishing him fired for any given reason) under the same grounds but I do think the St. Louis Cardinals would do well to learn from the short leash.
The St. Louis Cardinals at the conclusion of 2017 fired pitching coach Derek Lilliquist and hired Mike Maddux. This was a positive move but not necessarily the right move. I urged then that the Cardinals would have been better suited to have fired Matheny and John Mabry.
Why? Well Matheny’s management has been in decline since he arrived and donned the manager moniker. In addition, the St. Louis Cardinals missed the playoffs entirely in 2017 behind a struggle of a season. Mabry’s hitters have shown inconsistency unseen from recent St. Louis Cardinals teams. I’m just not sold that Mabry is the right guy for the job.
Noting that these moves were not made and admitting that Matheny- who has lead this year’s squad to three games over .500- seems to be doing at least a better job of things this season (or is allowing his subordinates to do the heavy lifting), there are still reasons why the St. Louis Cardinals would benefit from a quick hook as exemplified by the Reds’ move today.
First, the St. Louis Cardinals MUST make a decision on a few players and coaches. It simply is not okay to allow Matheny to tote these guys out there in the same roles without compromise as to the direction for each. Let’s take a quick look:
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- Matt Carpenter should definitely NOT bat in the number three hole (see also: Larry’s piece today).
- Kolten Wong needs assistance likely in the form of AAA playing time (see also: my piece from yesterday).
- Dexter Fowler needs a reset which could be coming in additional off days with the addition of Tyler O’Neill.
- Mabry needs to be removed or reassigned and Mark Budaska should be promoted.
- Mike Matheny MUST be told to avoid his favorite guys like Matthew Bowman from the pen; he needs to learn moderation (Matheny, not Bowman).
These certainly are not all of the areas of concern but are at least some of them. Additionally, these issues are not recent issues but have been fairly consistent through these 18 or so games.
If the Reds can feel that an 18-game sample is sufficient to make a drastic change in their coaching staff, then why can’t the St. Louis Cardinals make necessary changes as well. This is the ultimate crux of this issue: the sloth-like speed of the Cardinals’ front office to make needed changes.
Just imagine the changes and impacts this team could experience if the St. Louis Cardinals FO were to act with the expediency displayed by their Cincinnati counterparts…
The Reds under their new interim manager- Jim Riggleman (a great manager by the way)- will travel to Busch Stadium for games beginning on Friday night. By that time, the St. Louis Cardinals will likely need to be prepared to face a changed squad rather than the one they just swept in the Reds’ home stadium in four games. I know I’ll be watching!