The Cardinals fired manager Mike Shildt, citing philosophical differences within the organization, just a week after St. Louis lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League wildcard game.
Cardinals President John Mozeliak said the firing was “something that was rushed recently,” but declined to elaborate on what he called “philosophical differences.” He stressed that Shildt was heading into the last year of his contract, but that was not the last reason to break the bond.
“All I can say is that, in terms of the team’s direction, we were having a hard time staying in tune,” Mozeliak said. “With one more year on his contract, we could enter 2022 with that weighing against him and we decided internally that the best thing was to break now and give a clean slate with a view to the new season.”
It’s highly unusual for clubs to fire managers in the same postseason game – the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants played the decisive fifth game of their division series Thursday night.
But Mozeliak and Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. decided it was something of such importance that they asked the Major League for permission to make the decision without waiting any longer.
Mozeliak declined to speak of possible substitutes, but mentioned that there are several candidates within the organization. He added that the coaches who are under contract will remain next season.
Mozeliak met with Shildt and the other coaches on Friday, but they did not see each other again until Mozeliak informed Shildt of his dismissal. Asked about the pilot’s reaction, Mozeliak replied: “Very astonished.”
“I’m not going to talk about who I spoke to or the details of how I came to this decision,” Mozeliak said.
Mozeliak hired Shildt as a scout in 2003, beginning his career in an organization recognized for being very united. Shildt moved on to player training roles and then to other levels of the minor league system.
Shildt replaced current Kansas City Royals manager Mike Matheny on an interim basis in August 2018, and was permanently ratified for the following season. The Cardinals won 91 games that season and Shildt won the NL manager of the year award before being swept by Washington in the circuit championship series.
The Cardinals went 30-28 during the 2020 campaign, shortened by the pandemic, being eliminated in the wild-card game. They set a franchise record by chaining together 17 victories, entering the postseason as wild cards again this season. AP (HN)