The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly looking to extend manager Mike Shildt.
When the St. Louis Cardinals were struggling, falling into fourth place in the National League Central, the easy target was manager Mike Shildt. The team was underperforming. They were fading fast. Fans wanted him fired.
But that was never a realistic option and after the Cardinals won 17 consecutive games, advancing to the NL wild card game, Shildt’s job status became cemented. Now, as they enter an important offseason, St. Louis president of baseball operations John Mozeliak is targeting an extension for Shildt and his coaching staff, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux told Goold that he expects to return in 2022. Bench coach Oliver Marmol could get outside interest, per Goold, as Shildt has been a proponent of his for managerial openings in previous seasons. The only coach in question would seem to be hitting coach Jeff Albert, but all indications are that he will also return next season.
At this point, Shildt has earned the benefit of the doubt in all situations. He has annually had the Cardinals in playoff contention and is beloved inside the clubhouse, with one source recently telling me that they would “run through a wall for Shildt.”
That sentiment is widely shared, as Shildt has a reputation as a players manager. It should help the Cardinals recruit players in free agency — having two of the games premier stars in Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt helps — and the expectation is players will want to come to St. Louis to join Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina in their final season in baseball.
Having a really good and respected manager makes those recruiting pitches a lot easier. In Shildt, the Cardinals have exactly that — and they are smart for wanting to extend him only days after their season ended.