photo: Mike Maddux (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images)
St. Louis Cardinals press release
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today the hiring of Mike Maddux as the team’s Pitching Coach and promotion of triple-A Memphis Pitching Coach Bryan Eversgerd to the Cardinals Bullpen Coach for the 2018 season. Today’s announcement rounds out the team’s Major League coaching staff for 2018.
“We are very excited to welcome Mike to the Cardinals organization,” stated Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. “We also look forward to giving Bryan Eversgerd a well-deserved opportunity on our Major League staff.”
Maddux, 56, has served as pitching coach with the Texas Rangers (2009-15) and Washington Nationals (2016-17), and was part of six postseason teams – four with the Rangers (2010-11, 12, 15) and two with the Nationals (2016-17). All-Star Max Scherzer earned his 2016 National League Cy Young Award as a member of the Nationals pitching staff under Maddux.
The 2016 Nationals squad set a franchise record with 1,476 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .234 batting average, also the best in club history. In 2017, the Nationals ranked 6th among Major League Baseball pitching staffs in ERA (3.88) while ranking 7th in strikeouts (1,457). As pitching coach with the Rangers, the team posted four of its top seven win totals, their top four strikeout totals in franchise history from 2010-13 and dropped their ERA from 5.37 to 4.38 in his first season with the club. In 2013, the Rangers bullpen posted their lowest ERA in club history at 2.89.
Maddux, the brother of pitching great Greg Maddux, enjoyed a 15-year Major League career, going 39-37 with a 4.05 ERA in 472 games (48 starts) with Philadelphia (1986-89), Los Angeles (1990, 1999), San Diego (1991-92), New York Mets (1993-94), Pittsburgh (1995), Boston (1995-96), Seattle (1997), Montreal (1998-99) and Houston (2000).
Eversgerd, 48, has served as pitching coach in the Cardinals organization for 15 seasons, including the last five with the Cardinals’ Memphis affiliate (2013-17). The Hoffman, Ill., native, was voted the recipient of the highly-distinguished George Kissell Award in 2012 – an award that honors excellence in player development. His teams won league championships with Memphis (2017) and double-A Springfield (2012). Eversgerd, who pitched parts of four major league seasons, made two stints with St. Louis that included his Major League debut in 1994.
Brian Walton’s take
The previously-rumored top candidate for the pitching coach opening, Jim Hickey, had reportedly been interviewed by Mozeliak last week in Florida. However, since then, the Cubs fired their pitching coach Chris Bosio. Because Hickey and Chicago manager Joe Maddon had a long history together with Tampa Bay, speculation immediately connected Hickey to the Cubs. That remains an open question, but the Cardinals did not wait for a Chicago announcement to make their decision known.
Maddux is highly-respected across the game for his work with pitchers and should bring a fresh, external perspective to a Cardinals staff that is almost entirely in-house developed. He will have much to do with a younger rotation in 2018 and a likely-to-be-revamped bullpen while integrating a number of very talented prospects into the staff
Speaking of which, by naming Eversgerd to the bullpen coach role, the organization extends its practice of promoting from within.
Thursday’s announcement, coupled with Monday’s news of the return of Jose Oquendo and the addition of Willie McGee, fills all openings on manager Mike Matheny’s staff, a group that has experienced almost complete turnover in the last 12 months.
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