St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals push the reset button
Is Mike Schildt the right guy?
The new Cardinals Interim Manager has built an impressive career with the franchise as a scout, coach, and minor league manager.
Mike Schildt was a part-time coach and scout for the St Louis Cardinals starting in 2004, eventually moving to a full-time coaching position in 2006 with the Single A Johnson City Cardinals. By 2009, he was promoted to manage the Johnson City affiliate. Schildt lead the Johnson City Cardinals to two consecutive Appalachian League Championships in 2010 and 2011.
Promoted to lead the AA Springfield Cardinals in 2012, the Cardinal affiliate won their first ever Texas League Championship. Schildt managed AA Springfield for two more seasons, before being promoted to lead the AAA Memphis Redbirds franchise.
After two seasons, he was promoted in 2017 to the major league club as the quality control coach. Eventually, Schildt became the third base coach for the Cardinals during the middle part of the season after a shake up of Mike Matheny‘s staff. When Jose Oquendo returned as third base coach for 2018, Schildt became the bench coach for Matheny.
Many believe Schildt inherits a conflicted clubhouse. Dexter Fowler has been a disappointment since signing a five-year $82.5 million contract in December 2016. He has hit .232 since joining the club and is hitting .176 for 2018. Also, he has been accused for playing an uninspired defense in right field, and was platooned with Harrison Bader and Jose Martinez. Fowler has been publicly called out by John Mozeliak and reportedly had developed a personal rift with Mike Matheny.
The most recent reported clubhouse conflict was between flame thrower reliever Jordan HIcks and closer Bud Norris. Although Hicks and Norris both tried to downplay the report, the accusation of Norris ‘bullying’ Hicks seems to emblematic of the Cardinals clubhouse issues this season. Tommy Pham and Marcell Ozuna seeking outside help for their hitting woes is another example of clubhouse discord the Cardinals have faced in 2018.
Schildt will also be judged by his game day lineups, game adjustments, and bullpen management. Some lineup issues he will have to address is how much playing time to give Dexter Fowler, Harrison Bader, Jose Martinez, and Kolten Wong.
Schildt will need to address these issues successfully if the Cardinals are going to make a run at the 2018 post season.