Why did Mr. DeWitt announce the return of Matheny now?

On the day that the Cards lose 2-1 to the Reds. Not able to bring to Kolten Wong in after a leadoff triple in the 9th. Not a shocker. It is the 2016 season after all. The only good news is that the Giants, also lose 2-0 to the Rox. It really is the battle of the biggest losers.

The best tweet of the night proclaimed just pretend both the Cards and the Giants won. At least then you could get excited about an actual postseason race.  

Jesus Ortiz followed up his tweet and posted the DeWitt interview. Announcing that Mike Matheny will return as the Cardinals manager for 2017.

Nobody in power or authority at Busch Stadium denies that the 2016 season hasn’t panned out quite as well as they had hoped one year after winning 100 games. But one thing appears clear:

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny’s job is not in jeopardy.

In an exclusive interview with the Post-Dispatch, Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said Matheny’s job is safe.“

Mike’s done a really good job for us,” Mr. DeWitt said. “There’s no thought that we’re going to go in any different direction.”

Matheny, 46, is 457-348 with one National League pennant and four playoff appearances since he became the Cardinals’ manager in 2012. He still has a chance to lead the Cardinals to their sixth consecutive playoff berth and the fifth in a row under his watch.

Although the Cubs ran away with the NL Central crown, the Cardinals (82-75) are only one game behind the Giants for the second and final NL wild-card berth heading into the final five games of the season.

“Mike’s a great leader and he continues to be that,” DeWitt said. “And it just seems to be one of those years where things haven’t worked. That’s the nature of the game. You can’t fault any one of aspect of it. You have your ups and downs in baseball. You have 162 games. Things have a tendency of playing out in different directions.

“I know Mike and his staff, which has done a great job for a number of years here. He’s got a chance to be in the playoffs for five straight seasons as manager. He’s obviously driven to reach that goal, but the way we’ve played on occasion has been disappointing to him as well. You have to stick with it and do your best and hope the season finishes on a strong note. At this point of the season with so few games left and all at home, if we play well the ups and downs you forget about it.”

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is also firmly in support of Matheny.

“Mike takes a lot of heat, and I’ve defended him and I will continue to,” Mozeliak said. “I really feel like some of the things that we’re dealing with aren’t fair to put on the manager.

“I do feel like all of us are always held accountable for what we do here, so there’s nobody excluded from that. But having said that, I don’t look at him as someone that we are where we are because of that.”

Source: DeWitt says Matheny’s job is secure; Mozeliak adds support | Jesus Ortiz | stltoday.com

MLB Trade Rumors provided the national media summary:

Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. says that skipper Mike Matheny will remain at the club’s helm next year, as Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Matheny’s contract runs expires after 2017.

There had been at least some outside questions of Matheny’s status, given the Cards’ somewhat disappointing 82-75 mark with five games left to play. St. Louis is still battling for a Wild Card spot, of course — and the team has already qualified for the postseason in all four prior seasons of Matheny’s tenure — but never really competed this year in an NL Central that has been dominated by the rival Cubs.

“Mike’s done a really good job for us,” said DeWitt. “There’s no thought that we’re going to go in any different direction.” The owner went on to explain that Matheny remains “a great leader” who isn’t responsible for what has been “one of those years where things haven’t worked.”

GM John Mozeliak also expressed confidence in the organization’s dugout chief, saying that the 46-year-old Matheny can be unfairly blamed when things don’t go smoothly. “Mike takes a lot of heat, and I’ve defended him and I will continue to,” said Mozeliak. “I really feel like some of the things that we’re dealing with aren’t fair to put on the manager.”

It is certainly hard to argue with Matheny’s overall results, though obviously he was entrusted with a talented and veteran-laden ballclub. Still, the former big league backstop has received his share of criticism for in-game management, focused particularly on his use of the bullpen.

Clearly, though, the Cardinals’ top decisionmakers don’t feel that any shortcomings in those areas override Mathany’s track record and overall management of the club. That being said, it’s not clear that any new contract discussions will take place, and Matheny could enter the 2017 season managing for his future in the organization.

Source: Cardinals Expect To Retain Mike Matheny For 2017 – MLB Trade Rumors

Trying to analyze this announcement from an organizational point of view. Which I always do. This makes no sense. Mr. DeWitt is not afraid of making bold moves. See letting Walt Jocketty walk. Hiring Jeff Luhnow. There has to be something the organization is not telling the fan base. There has to be more.

If there is not another shoe to drop. Meaning some other organizational news that would clarify this situation. Cardinal Nation will have to conclude that Mr. Dewitt is simply satisfied with the Cardinals putting a competitive team on the field.

Choosing to ignore the fact that only 36,000 fans showed up last night at the ballpark. Clearly the fans in the St. Louis area that had not already purchased tickets, don’t feel the Cardinals will have any success in the postseason race.

If Mr. DeWitt is evaluating the situation from a big picture perspective. The Cardinals are a competitive club. At least for the wild card. Has averaged 40,000 fans this season. Matheny does have his supporters. So it’s all good.

This is definitely would be a move based on the assumption, that the portion of the fan base that enjoys watching the Cardinal games, based upon the in-game strategy. The chess match of the National League game.  Will not become disenchanted in the fact that Matheny is returning. And will continue to watch. I think that is a big assumption.

When the Cards reached the 100 win season in 2015. I was not excited about the postseason. Anyone who watched the team knew that Matheny had burned the team out. The strength of the team, pitching was out of gas. The season ended with a whimper.

However, I was very interested in what Mozeliak would do in the offseason. I paid close attention. I did expect Matheny to return. I believed that Matheny would finally change his methods. By the end of April it was clear Matheny was not going to make any adjustment.

I rarely make it to the end of a game. Because there is no point in watching. Matheny is not going to make a move, that brings about a victory. Matheny relies on the veteran players to grind out a win. Not very interesting to watch. Waiting for a Cardinal to hit a home run is not exactly a chess match.  Just saying.  

Mr. DeWitt in announcing Mike’s continued employment, stress his leadership. John Mozeliak in his statement did not praise Matheny. Simple pointed out that Matheny is not totally responsible. A clear difference. 

Is Mozeliak and DeWitt on the same page? Is Mr. DeWitt the one who is still sticking with his hire a good man and let him do his job mantra. Matheny is clearly one of the good guys. However, Mike is a terrible in-game manager. Matheny’s veteran bias is definitely not in step with Mozeliak’s growth and development organizational structure.

If it is Mr. DeWitt the one who is retaining Matheny. Because, it is riskier to make a change and why rock the boat? The organization is the most profitable in all of baseball.

If Mozeliak in favor of making a change and Mr. DeWitt decided to maintain the status quo. If that is the case, it would be a huge mistake.

I just don’t believe that. I don’t. Mr. DeWitt has proven to be one of the best owners in baseball. Not afraid of making the big decision. To put the Cardinals on the right path. I just find it hard to believe that Mr. DeWitt, would take the print money approach.

Mr. Dewitt has done a remarkable job at putting the organization on the right path. Then having the patience to let the results take hold. Letting Matheny finishing out his contract, is not the right path kind of move.

There has to be something more.

Time for the out of left field theories.

  1. Mozeliak is going to get a promotion as the President of Baseball operations. Mr. Dewitt will give another GM, the opportunity to make Matheny, into a good in-game manager. And to get with the organization’s youth movement. 
  2. Mozeliak is going to take over as the President of Baseball for the Rockies. This all comes from a Derrick Goold random post a few months back, about Mozeliak’s love for Colorado and Mozeliak replying that he is happy in St. Louis. It was one of those reporter post when you are hearing rumors. But, no one is going on the record to say that the Mozeliak, is considering a job with the Rockies.
  3. Mr. DeWitt is getting ready to cash out his ownership of the Cardinals. Most people ignored the fact that the Cardinals, sold the Memphis Redbirds, to Peter Freund of Trinity Baseball Holdings. Freund is a billionaire type that has a 1% stake in the Yankees. This guy is building a resume to obtain a MLB franchise.
  4. Mr. DeWitt will then cash out and be named as one of the principle owners of another MLB franchise. Perhaps his hometown Reds. Or the leader of a new group that will be awarded the Montreal franchise.

I know this is all, way out of left field theories. But, it is the only thing that would explain the retention of Matheny. An organization would not make a change in the manager if changes were coming in the front office. No way you would hamstring a new owner or GM, with a new manager on a 3 year deal. 

It’s all about the timing of Mr. DeWitt’s announcement. It was a preemptive move. Not waiting for the season to play out. Mr. DeWitt made this announcement before there could be an opportunity for a ground swell of fire Matheny movement.

If the Cards fail to make the postseason. or exit the postseason early. The media would have been all over the headline “Is it time to fire Matheny”.

Mr. DeWitt made sure that did not happen. Why? It is a legit question.

Of course, all of this is pure conjecture. It could be that Mr. DeWitt, likes Matheny leadership and is not willing to make a change.

If this is the case. Then Mr. DeWitt just made a major mistake. For a fan like myself letting Matheny return for the 2017. Ensures that I will be less interested in the Cardinals offseason and the 2017 regular season.

Because all the offseason moves, won’t make any difference for the 2017 season. Matheny will not use the new pieces properly. Just like this year.

I will still be a Cardinal fan. Just a less interested one. Because with Mike Matheny returning the games ensures, that they will not be all that interesting. I do believe the Cardinals will be better next year. Will be in the mix for another wild card.

However, bringing back Matheny ensures that the Cards, will not win a World Series. The young players will not be developed. The Cubs have more talent than the Cards. With a better manager. The Dodgers will also move into that category next season. 

There is no chance that Matheny can out manage, this group to victory. And the Cards will not have enough talent, for the players to simply do it on their own. Which they have basically done the first 4 years under Matheny.

I will simply get my baseball fix, by watching MLB tonight. Which I did in 2014 before the youngsters started arriving. I prefer watching the youngsters develop. I find the team much more interesting with the likes of Diaz, Wong, Piscotty, Reyes, Weaver, and Grichuk getting their big league experience.

As compared to seeing if Leake can live up to his contract. Or how many time Moss strikes out, between home runs. They do what they do. I just don’t find it very interesting.

Yeah, I still want to win every game. But, it is what the team will be in the postseason, that keeps me watching on a daily basis. Like John Mozeliak always states. Don’t worry about the team that breaks spring training. Worry about the team in August.  

I don’t think I’m alone on this. If there are not going to be more changes coming for the Cardinals.

I will still be a fan.

Just a less interested one.

Cardinal Nation still has to hope the Giants, will be the biggest loser.

Alex Reyes on the mound tonight. Worth the watch. Hope that the offense shows up.

Go Cards.