The 2023 season was rough for the St. Louis Cardinals in terms of pitching. The team was dealing with a new catcher in Willson Contreras after the retirement of legendary catcher Yadier Molina. Dusty Blake took over as pitching coach from veteran coach Mike Maddux. Before becoming coach, Blake was a pitching analyst for the organization.
According to a report from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak will look to supplement the pitching staff with pieces to help Blake in his efforts.
" The Cardinals want to add to their pitching support, giving pitching coach Dusty Blake an additional assist with game preparation, game-to-game scouting of opponents and analytics as well as some of the mechanics and pitch-craft that are now de rigueur for big league staffs. Marmol said scouring habits for “pitching tipping” will also be a focus of an addition."- Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
When seeing this is what the Cardinals want to do, it is staggering to see it has taken the organization until now to do something that seems of high magnitude. The move, however, is catching the Cardinals up with a trend seen throughout baseball where they have coaching specializing in specific areas, much like they have coaches for hitting and fielding.
Last season was Blake's first as a Major League-level pitching coach, and he struggled. Mightly. It would have been easy to assume that when Blake was in his role as an analyst, he could have picked up on some ideas from Maddux and Molina. At best, it appeared Blake was going through the process trial-by-fire.
While nothing has been set in stone with these prospective changes, it would be fun to see the Cardinals get some highly respected alumni - think Chris Carpenter, Woody Williams, Jeff Suppan, or Matt Morris - to help. And, now that Molina has been named a special advisor to Mozeliak, he will undoubtedly be able to provide some tips and tricks to help Blake and the rest of the coaching staff. Molina is expected to be in uniform at times as well. Let's be honest about how helpful it will be to the entire team to have Molina around. Conteras will have a catching icon to work with, while Lance Lynn and other veterans can reunite with an old friend.
Mozeliak and manager Oli Marmol, who is on the hot seat, appreciated Blake's job and wanted him to succeed. The Cardinals did add Jason Isringhausen as an assistant coach last season, but it's still being determined if he will be back.
It's good to see Mozeliak and company trying to right the ship after a disastrous season that saw many questioning him and his decision-making process.
Adding Molina to the front office staff and Daniel Descalso as bench coach are steps in the right direction. It will be critical to see who the Cardinals bring in to help Blake, though. The Cardinals' pitching staff will be completely different in that it will have a veteran presence with loads of young talent in the waiting. They need to have a pitching coach staff prepared to handle the day-to-day duties of the pitching staff, the in-game situations, and more.
While nonetheless staggering in the apparent need, it's good to see Mozeliak realize it now and make the necessary moves.