In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the St. Louis Cardinals parted ways with manager Mike Shildt on Thursday afternoon after a winning campaign that saw the redbirds go to the Wild Card Game.
They lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in that game, but they completed a very impressive season capped by an amazing second half.
All things told, St. Louis finished the regular season with a 90-72 record, good for second in the National League Central division, after the first-place Milwaukee Brewers.
Additionally, the Cards were able to string together a 17-game winning streak in September, which helped them overcome the advances of rival teams and secure their place in the Wild Card Game.
However, the Cardinals front office is citing a “philosophical difference” for their decision to part ways with their manager.
Cardinals president John Mozeliak said he fired manager Mike Shildt earlier today due to a “philosophical difference” in the direction of the team. “We decided internally it would be best to separate now,” he said, even though Shildt had one year left on his contract.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 14, 2021
“We decided internally it would be best to separate now,” Cardinals president John Mozeliak told Jeff Passan of ESPN.
A Good Managerial Record
Shildt ends his Cardinals tenure with a 252-199 regular season record, a .559 winning percentage.
He took over in 2018 and had a 41-28 record that year, finishing third in the NL Central.
Since 2019 to 2021, he made the playoffs every time.
He helped St. Louis reach the Championship Series in 2019, when they lost to the champions, the Washington Nationals.
Shildt was also recognized with the Manager of the Year award in 2019.
The decision comes as a surprise, especially since the month of September that St. Louis just had, and the fact that Shildt still had one year left on his contract.
While the specific details of the reasons behind Shildt’s dismissal are not public and probably never will be, a philosophical difference would mean a unwillingness to adapt to modern styles of managing and/or running a franchise.
In these particular times in MLB, teams are adopting analytics-driven approaches.
Baseball, in general, is changing, and for the look of things, it appears that the Cardinals don’t want to be left behind.
However, this doesn’t mean that Shildt’s career is over or even on a downward path.
There Could Be Opportunities For Shildt, Even On Contenders
In fact, with so many teams potentially looking for managers around the league, it means that he will likely have several job opportunities.
For example, the San Diego Padres dismissed their manager Jayce Tingler a few days ago.
The New York Mets also announced that they weren’t going to retain the services of Luis Rojas as the team skipper for 2022.
Mets fans love Mike Shildt! #Shildt2NYM!!!
— . (@JrodEnjoyer) October 14, 2021
Shildt is seen as a true leader, capable of successfully managing an MLB clubhouse.
If the Mets or Padres are interested, he has the potential of helping those franchises as they try to get back into playoff contention in 2022.
Both organizations have the resources in place to put together a strong roster, and Shildt will surely find that attractive.
It will definitely be an interesting offseason, now that several potential 2022 contenders will have managerial openings.
Shildt will presumably be a hot commodity during the whole offseason.