Monday, November 14, 2011

Matheny, new Cardinals manager

Surprisingly, the Cardinals hired former catcher Mike Matheny to be Tony La Russa's replacement as manager. I expected Jose Oquendo to get the gig due to his tenure with the club. I do think Matheny can become a good manager, although I'm not sure how long the learning curve will take. One of the reasons GM John Mozeliak hired him is because his ability to work with younger players, which is a plus. Matheny has also been praised for his leadership skills, and he did teach Yadier Molina some of tricks of the trade during his rookie season.

Regardless of having a rookie manager, I think the Cardinals can still make a run next year. The Cardinals have a good coaching staff now, and if they can get a former manager to be bench coach that would help Matheny out. Also, Matheny is taking over a team that just won the World Series. Dave Duncan wants to return as pitching coach, which is a big help. Oquendo also wants to return as 3rd base coach despite being passed over for manager.

The big question is still about Albert Pujols, and if he's going to re-sign or not. It would be a big loss if he left, but the Cardinals are in good position to make a playoff run next season even without Pujols. Lance Berkman can be moved to 1st, and Allen Craig and possibly Adron Chambers can play right. The Cards should look to upgrade the middle infield regardless of what Pujols does. The pitching should be better next year. Adam Wainwright is returning from Tommy John surgery next season, and top pitching prospect Shelby Miller could be ready sometime next year. Promising reliever Eduardo Sanchez should be healthy, and he has pretty good stuff.

The Cardinals have the talent to win, and the Brewers made the playoffs with a rookie manager last season and the DBacks had a second year manager. Its hard to repeat as champion, but I do think the Redbirds can make a run at it again next year despite having a rookie manager.

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