Mike Shildt, a Cardinals system lifer, was named the team’s manager in the middle of the 2018 season after Mike Matheny was dismissed.
In Shildt’s tenure as manager, they won a division title and two wild-card spots and in general continued the Cardinals’ “devil magic” or “pixie dust,” winning a franchise-record 17 games in a row in September of this year on their way to the Wild Card Game, which they lost to the Dodgers.
That’s not good enough for the Cardinals:
Mike Shildt is out as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 14, 2021
Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak explained the reasons behind the dismissal:
John Mozeliak makes it official, announcing that Mike Shildt will not be back as the Cardinals manager. "We have determined that we have a philosophical difference in the direction that our Major League club is going."— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) October 14, 2021
Mozeliak: "Where we felt the team was going, we were struggling to get on the same page." Cards didn't want to go into 2022 with Shildt as a lame-duck in the final year of his contract.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) October 14, 2021
Mozeliak said the situation with Shildt was "something that just popped up recently." Doesn't seem as though this was something that had been festering throughout the season. The two sides had held no discussions about an extension.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) October 14, 2021
This is all very curious. I suppose we’ll find out someday what happened that “popped up recently,” considering that “recently” for the Cardinals was basically the 17-game winning streak and 23-9 record after September 1 that got them into the Wild Card Game. That happened despite the Cardinals basically operating with two starting pitchers after a number of injuries decimated their rotation.
I’m not sure what kind of “philosophical differences” you could have with a guy who did that for your team on the field, but obviously the Cardinals have their reasons.
It’s certainly unexpected. Shildt had a year remaining on his contract. Mark Feinsand’s tweets note that the Cardinals have “internal candidates” in mind and that Mozeliak wouldn’t answer a question about going outside the organization.
As always, we await developments regarding the Cubs’ biggest rival.