Everyone is concerned about pitching, pitching, pitching but if this staff isn’t improved, it really won’t matter what players they get.
Managers matter. Look no further than the Marlins. Last year under Don Mattingly they won 69 games. This year with Cardinals' alumni Skip Schumaker they won 84 games and made the playoffs. Last year Texas won 68 games with Tony Beasley and Chris Woodward. Bruce Bochy came in and won 90 games and got the Rangers in the playoffs.
Something both of those managers have in common is that they both have outstanding pitching coaches. Mel Stottlemre in Miami and Mike Maddux in Texas. Staffs matter also.
At the beginning of the 2023 season, we had a mass exodus of management staff. Jeff Albert, the hitting coach, left for the Mets. Mike Maddux, the pitching coach left just left. He later went to work for the Rangers. Schumaker the bench coach left to become the manager of the Marlins. The bullpen coach Bryan Eversgerd was reassigned.
Even the replacement bench coach had to be replaced. Matt Holliday took the job but resigned before the season even started.
If you look at the replacements for all these positions most were either promoted from within, or in the case of Joe McEwing, someone who had ties to the Cardinals organization.
In doing research for this article, the word that I kept seeing when doing searches on the Cardinals after disappointment was dysfunction. There was speculation that Schumaker was talking about the Cardinals when he said this “I’ve been on staffs before where it was a little bit toxic “
Is there any reason that the Cardinals shouldn’t be able to go out and hire an A+ staff? What are the reasons for not bringing in outside voices? Is it because the front office thinks there is only one way of doing things and that is the Cardinals’ way? That way isn’t working. How did they get to the point that the Cardinals' assistant hitting coach didn’t even have baseball experience but was a softball coach?
This brings me back to Molina. Would he improve this staff? Probably. Do I think he should be a part of it? No.
Molina is a larger-than-life figure in this town. He would overshadow everyone on the team including the manager. Would he be a pitching coach or a bench coach? Would he be happy as a number two, or would he be a number one in waiting? Would he really want to be part of a sinking ship?
I have already written that I don’t believe this team gets better with the current staff in place. I don’t think that will change until the end of next year. It makes much more sense for me to see Molina sit out a year, or have a position like Jose Oquendo, who also left this coaching staff, and rove the minors to get a feel for the younger players.
I believe that Molina will someday be a great manager. I just hope he doesn’t want to be a part of this mess.