Mike Shildt is out as the Cardinals manager, fired during a Thursday morning meeting with John Mozeliak, the club’s president of baseball operations.
It was a surprise to Shildt, as characterized by Mozeliak, who cited “philosophical differences” between the manager and the front office, though he repeatedly declined to expand on the nature of those differences during a Zoom news conference Thursday afternoon.
So who will be the Cardinals’ next manager?
Mozeliak confirmed that there are at least a few names already in mind. “There are some internal candidates that we do have confidence in,” he said in response to a Sporting News question. “Could it move quickly? Yes, but we want to take a few days to sort of take a step back, catch our breath, then take a hard look at what that looks like.”
In trying to assess potential replacements, it’s important to look at candidates with the understanding that the front office had philosophical differences with someone who had been in the organization since 2004, when Mozeliak hired Shildt as a scout, so maybe a “strong” type experienced manager with a “my way or the highway” personality might not be the best fit for what they’re looking for.
With that in mind, here’s a list of potential candidates.
1. Stubby Clapp, Cardinals first base coach
How’s this for a tie to the Cardinals’ organization: His jersey No. 10 is retired by the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Yeah. After his playing career — which peaked with 23 games for the Cardinals in 2001 — he managed in the minors for the Astros and Blue Jays before rejoining the Cardinals’ organization. He’s been on the big league coaching staff since 2019.
2. Oliver Marmol, Cardinals bench coach
He’s been with the Cardinals since he was drafted in 2007, as a player and coach. Marmol, only 35, has been with the big-league club since 2017, spending the past few years as the bench coach.
3. Skip Schumaker, Padres coach
Again, Cardinals history here. He came up through the organization and played eight years with the big league team, and his RBI double in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against Roy Halladay that gave the Cardinals their only run in a 1-0 victory, was the stuff of legend. He’s been a coach with the Padres since 2018 and was the “associate manager” the past two years.
4. Jose Oquendo, Cardinals minor league infield coordinator
He’s basically Cardinals’ royalty, having been with the organization since 1985, in a variety of roles. Once upon a time, Oquendo was seen as the next great manager, either for the Cardinals or some other team, but he wasn’t hired for any of the jobs he interviewed for, including the Cardinals when they went with Mike Matheny. Oquendo is still only 58, and nobody knows the philosophy of the organization better than him.
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