St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 11-17

photo: Mike Shildt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals made a surprise managerial change, with a number of rumored replacement candidates for Mike Shildt having internal connections. Our history feature covers the NLCS and St. Louis’ prior success in it.

Shildt fired in surprise announcement

Mike Shildt (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis baseball world was abruptly greeted on Thursday afternoon with news that Cardinals manager Mike Shildt had been terminated from his position, effective immediately. After the news broke on social media, a press conference via Zoom was announced to begin right away.

President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, and Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. greeted the assembled press online with the announcement that the organization had made the decision to cut ties with Shildt due to “philosophical differences.”  Though exact details were not forthcoming, Mozeliak told the media that during a series of end of season meetings that had taken place over the last 5 or 6 days, it became clear that Shildt and the front office could not “get on the same page” concerning the direction of the team for 2022.

Shildt, 53, had one year remaining on his current contract, and there had been talk that the two sides would come together to work out an extension. Instead, the differences that developed between the skipper and the front office were such that the organization felt it was best to cut the cord immediately.

Mozeliak stated in the Zoom that the firing was not a reaction to the season that had just ended but was more forward looking as to the where the team was headed in the near future. Mozeliak declined to specify the exact nature of the philosophical differences but did outline to the media that the organization’s philosophy is and has always been under his tenure to have a pipeline of talent flowing from the farm system to the major leagues to fill out the roster, and that philosophy was not open for debate. One could infer that perhaps Shildt had attempted to debate it.

Mozeliak informed the media that Shildt was “very shocked” when he was notified of his dismissal. The Cardinals must now seek a replacement. Mozeliak said that there were internal candidates that would be considered but did not rule out a replacement from outside the organization. He stated that they should have a new manager chosen by mid-November. Bench coach Ollie Marmol and first base coach Stubby Clapp are likely on the short list of internal candidates.

Mozeliak went on to state that no further changes to the 2022 coaching staff were anticipated.

At the time of the announcement, Shildt was not available for comment, but he issued a statement via Zoom on Monday in which he thanked by name those in the organization from top to bottom as well as those who have moved on.

The former manager chose not to get into details behind the differences that led to his firing, asking to move on rather than speculating.

“Clearly there were differences in philosophies,” Shildt said. “What differences there were will remain unsaid publicly.”

Skip Schumaker

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Following the surprise dismissal of Shildt, rumors of who will replace him have emerged. Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeted that current coaches Oliver Marmol and Stubby Clapp are expected to be considered for the managerial vacancy.

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune tweeted that some players in San Diego are hearing that former Cardinal Skip Schumaker could be a candidate for the manager job as well.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

When the postseason ends, the offseason begins with the election of free agency for eligible players. This is official at 9 am on the morning after the end of the World Series. Following a five-day exclusive window to negotiate with their former team, all free agents can then sign with other teams.

The Cardinals have nine players set to become free agents absent being re-signed by the team. This list does not include Nolan Arenado, who has an opt-out clause in his contract but has notified the team he does not intend to exercise it.

Nolan Arenado

The nine impending free agents are Matt Carpenter, Andrew Miller, Carlos Martinez, Kwang-Hyun Kim, J.A. Happ, Jon Lester, T.J. McFarland, Luis Garcia, and Wade Le Blanc. Carpenter and Martinez have 2022 team options that the Cardinals are not expected to pick up. Garcia and McFarland may be re-signed for 2022 if deals can be reached. Miller is not likely to be made an offer. The remaining players may or may not be returning to the Cardinals, either on a major league deal or a minor league deal.

Teams can also make Qualifying Offers to eligible free agents. The deadline for teams to tender the Qualifying Offer is 4 pm CT on the fifth day following the World Series. The Cardinals are not expected to make a qualifying offer to any of their pending free agents.

In other free agency news, former Cardinals’ reliever Tyler Webb has elected minor league free agency following his 2021 season with the Memphis Redbirds. Webb was designated for assignment in midseason after a poor showing in the St. Louis bullpen and pitched out of the Memphis bullpen for the remainder of the season.

Tyler Webb

Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast continues the series on Cardinals postseason history with a look at the NLCS and the history of the Cardinals teams that have participated. We start with a brief history of the genesis of this level of the postseason.

The National League Championship Series (NLCS) began in the 1969 season due to a restructuring of the two leagues. Prior to 1969, there were no divisions in either league; instead, the World Series was played by the “pennant winner” in each league, which was the team with the best win-loss record at the end of the season. In 1969, MLB reorganized both leagues into two divisions in each, an East and a West division. At the end of the regular season, the two Division winners played each other in a best of five series to determine who would be the pennant winner and thus move on to the World Series. This Championship Series changed to a best of seven format in 1985.

In 1994, the Division Series came to be, and another reorganization added a third division to each league, plus a Wild Card team to play one of the three Division winners. The winner of each of the Division Series advanced to the Championship Series.

The NLCS was in existence for 13 seasons before the Cardinals made their first appearance in it. The Cardinals teams of the 1970s failed to win their division in any year of that decade. The first season in which the Cardinals advanced to the NLCS was 1982. They won the NL East Division that season with a record of 92-70. They played the NL West winning Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. The Cardinals under Whitey Herzog swept Joe Torre’s Braves in three games, 7-0, 4-3, and 6-2. They went on to the defeat the AL’s representative, the Milwaukee Brewers, in the World Series.

Following are the seasons in which the Cardinals played in the NLCS after 1982, who they played, and the winner and scores of each game won.

1985 season – The Cardinals played the Los Angeles Dodgers and won 4 games to 2. This was the first season the series was a best of seven format. The Cardinals lost the first two games in Los Angeles, but defeated the Dodgers in the final four games, 4-2, 12-2, 3-2, and 7-5. The Cardinals went to play the Kansas City Royals in the World Series but were defeated in seven games.

1987 season – St. Louis met the San Francisco Giants in the 1987 NLCS and were the winners of that series 4 games to 3. The Cardinals won Games 1, 3, 6, and 7.  The scores of those games were 5-3, 6-5, 1-0, and 6-0. St. Louis went to the World Series and lost to the Minnesota Twins in seven games.

1996 season – After eight seasons with no NLCS appearance, the Cardinals returned to play the Braves in the 1996 NLCS. Tony La Russa’s first season as the manager of the Cardinals ended with a 4-3 series loss to Bobby Cox’s Braves. The Cardinals three wins in the series were games 2, 3, and 4, and the scores of those games were 8-3, 3-2, and 4-3.

2000 season – The Cardinals met the New York Mets in the 2000 NLCS. St. Louis won only one game of this best of seven series, Game 3 by the score of 8-3 in Shea Stadium.

2002 season – The 2002 season saw the Cardinals once again in the NLCS, and once again they lost. This series, like the 2000 series, was lost 4 games to 1. The single game the Cardinals won was Game 3 again, and in the road park as well, just like in 2000. The score of Game 3 was 5-4.

2004 season – The Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 4 games to 3 in the 2004 NLCS. St. Louis prevailed in Games 1, 2, 6, and 7, all at Busch Stadium. The scores were 10-7, 6-4, 6-4, and 5-2. The Cardinals advanced to the World Series against the Boston Red Sox and were swept in four games.

2006 season – Perhaps the most iconic of all the Cardinals NCLS wins was the 2006 series win over the Mets, 4 games to 3. The most memorable moment of this series was arguably the final out of Game 7 when rookie pitcher Adam Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran with a curveball in the ninth inning. St. Louis won games 2, 3, 5, and 7 of the series by the scores of 9-6, 5-0, 4-2, and 3-1. The Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers in the World Series 4-1.

2011 season – The Cardinals won the 2011 NLCS over their NL Central rivals the Milwaukee Brewers 4 games to 2. In the last NLCS played by Albert Pujols in a Cardinals uniform, the team won games 2, 3, 5, and 7.  The scores of the four games were 12-3, 4-3, 7-1, and 12-6.

2012 season – The Cardinals faced the Giants in the 2012 NLCS, the first postseason for new manager Mike Matheny. St. Louis lost the series 4-3. They won Game 1 (6-4), Game 3 (3-1) and Game 4 (8-3).

2013 season – The Cardinals prevailed over the Dodgers 4 games to 2. St. Louis won Game 1 by the score of 3-2 in 13 innings. They then won Game 2 (1-0), Game 4 (4-2), and Game 6 (9-0). The Cardinals lost to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series 4-2.

2014 season – St. Louis went down in defeat once again to the Giants, this time 4 games to 1. The Cardinals lone win was Game 2 by the score of 5-4.

2019 season – The Cardinals went to the NLCS after a four-season hiatus in 2019, under the management of Mike Shildt, in his first full season as the Redbird manager. St. Louis lost the series in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals. The Cardinals scored only six runs over the four games, getting shutout in Game 1, and scoring one run each in Game 2 and 3.

Next week we end the series with a look back at all 11 of the Cardinals World Series Championships.

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