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Mike Matheny Succeeds for Cardinals
- Updated: December 4, 2012
So he did it. John Mozeliak showed the city of St. Louis that his gambles will continue to pay off.
One of the smartest GM’s in the league continues to impress.
As I mentioned in my previous related article the Cards GM is taking chances and making waves. He has a few more obstacles this year in his next steps as GM, but nothing that will eliminate them from contention.
Bottom line: Matheny was the right choice. And despite how deep Mozeliak is wired into his day to day, one thing is certain–they want to win baseball games.
Here is my breakdown in regards to how Matheny succeeded in 2012 and will continue to succeed if he continues his chemistry.
- Matheny is respected in the clubhouse. We saw how the Red Sox fell apart this year because the GM brought in fresh meat. The Cardinals on the other hand secured a future (albeit short in regards to contract) for a young ball club with a young manager that had his roots already in the team coaching staff. This is a team with a lot of youth that any Cardinals fan should be excited about.
- Matheny did it his way. Did he make some bad judgments over the season? Sure. Did Cardinal Nation echo a collective groan every time “Scrabble” was brought in for Left-handed relief? Yes. But ours is not to question the inner workings and scouting reports that we don’t see every day. Our role is to be a fan and hold the team accountable with our approval or lack thereof in times of unhappiness. As a Cardinals fan, watching baseball in October, with the Reds eliminated, I was thrilled. I was more than thrilled. I was giddy about the future.
- Matheny could shape our future long term, and that is exciting. With young arms and intense prospects shaping up to be in the dugout in 2013, I wouldn’t doubt that Matheny and Mo take time to discuss some big picture long term ideas.
- Finally, Matheny trusted his coaching staff. From Derek Lilliquist to Mark McGwire to the day to day trainers, he utilized his team’s ability to lead on every front.
So where does that leave a 2013 team? Who is coming back? Who is leaving town? Who should leave town?
Let’s answer some of those easy ones to get it out of the way.
- Berkman is gone. He will always be loved by Cardinal Nation. What he did for us in his big comeback year (2011) was legendary. His leadership in the dugout was worth more than any contract we could give him. Sadly, his knees gave out before his heart. Find Berkman next year signing a one year deal with the Astros to be a DH and eventually joining the coaching staff or coaching at his Alma Mater Rice University.
- Lohse was lights out in 2012. His tenure with the Cardinals was overshadowed by the names Pujols, Wainright, and Carpenter. But what he did for us should be appreciated. As a free agent, find him signing with a team that has the ability to afford a long term deal with deeper pockets.
- Furcal should be monitored after his elbow miraculously healed as of 11/19/12. He’s getting older and needs a bit more rest during the season. I would keep Kozma on deck for pinch hitting and a back up. This doesn’t negate the need that Mozeliak should be searching for a new starter in that role. Kozma may never be a starter.
- Carlos Beltran has more than made up for our “Pujols sized hole”. With his knees shutting down and his contract up soon, I would give him more time off and allow him to mentor Oscar Taveras. Yes, that Oscar Taveras. I think Matheny should pull the young power hitter up at least by the 2013 All-Star break and allow him to learn from Beltran. Something that Beltran can teach him is the art of reading fly balls/routes. Tavares has come a long way very quickly. If his pace continues under the tutelage of Beltran, it could be amazing.
- Pitching is set for the Cardinals. They just need a few quick adjustments. This may not be the popular opinion…but here they are. Let Jaime Garcia go, fill that role with Shelby Miller, fill Loshe’s role with Joe Kelly, move Westbrook to middle reliever (ouch, right?) and give Rosenthal a shot in the rotation. Cut ties with Marc Rzepczynski (which is unlikely according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com) and find a couple of lefty relievers.
Should be exciting in 2013!
Written by @deathisvictory
Photo Courtesy of Ranken Jordan