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Thursday, March 31, 2022

‘I have a broken heart:’ Mike Shildt bares his soul about being fired by the Cardinals

La Russa, who spent 16 years as the Cardinals manager with two World Series titles before returning to manage the Chicago White Sox, said he heard a comment from someone in the Cardinals’ organization that Shildt was fired because of a “toxic environment.’’

“That one frosted my ass,’’ La Russa said. “My comment was that if it was toxic, it must be in the front office. … I’m for the Cardinals. Everybody makes their own decision. But when you start talking about that, it might damage his chance to manage again for those that don’t know any better. He did a hell of a job.

“Philosophical differences? Ok. But toxic?

“He’s a special guy. That’s why it’s so important for his reputation to be intact and not smeared.’’

Mozeliak, when contacted, declined to publicly revisit the reasons for Shildt’s firing. He simply reiterated that there were philosophical differences, saying Shildt’s record and success as manager was inconsequential in the decision.

Shildt, 53, without going into public details, acknowledges he didn’t share the same views with Mozeliak on some components of the organization, but not nearly enough to provoke a firing.

“I thought I was going to die in my Cardinals uniform,’’ he said. “That’s why it still hurts so much.’’

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 31, 2022 at 10:53 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, mike shildt

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   1. phredbird Posted: March 31, 2022 at 12:27 PM (#6069782)

this was a tough read. shildt is genuinely hurt.

surprising when it happened and frankly none of the questions surrounding what happened have been well answered. i have nothing to base this on other than the chain of events and my personal impressions but mozeliak seems like a bit of a high-handed personality.
   2. Der-K's enjoying the new boygenius album. Posted: March 31, 2022 at 12:38 PM (#6069784)
i'm so far removed from these things so as to be ridiculous but - i have had a bad impression of how the cardinals front office operates "as people" for many years now. (not saying their performance in maintaining success - they do lots of things that i like and have performed well, imo.) obviously the whole hou/stl imbroglio helps fuel this sentiment.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: March 31, 2022 at 03:44 PM (#6069819)
I'd forgotten about this ... who is the manager now?

But when you start talking about that, it might damage his chance to manage again

Then maybe you should stop talking about it Tony. Out of curiosity, was "toxic environment" ever publicly stated by a Cards' official?

   4. salvomania Posted: March 31, 2022 at 04:22 PM (#6069827)
I'd forgotten about this ... who is the manager now?

Former bench coach Oli Marmol... who Shildt apparently helped scout/sign for the Cardinals as a prospect back in like 2005.
   5. salvomania Posted: March 31, 2022 at 04:24 PM (#6069828)
Shildt also mentioned believing that his three-year run of success put him in a "safe space" as far as being to talk openly with the front office. He was quoted in the article that perhaps if he'd been a little more circumspect the "philosophical differences" might not have surfaced.
   6. Tom and Shivs couples counselor Posted: March 31, 2022 at 04:27 PM (#6069830)
FWIW it was pretty much a given as of last August that the guy was getting fired. Then the Cards had that crazy September. But all around the NL Central chat rooms the general consensus was that the was done
   7. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 31, 2022 at 06:48 PM (#6069853)
I give him credit for being pretty upfront when they ejected him and Gallegos for having substance in his hat. Of course he's sort of putting on a show to stick up for his player but he was also saying basically its poorly kept secret/everyone (almost) is doing it.
   8. The Duke Posted: April 01, 2022 at 12:37 AM (#6069907)
It's unclear what happened but the smoke signals from all the reporting in STL was as follows:

Cards lose playoffs. Cards have end of season 1:1s with all their coaches and manager. Several days after the 1:1s he's let go. Mo says it's not a non-baseball issue taking things like sexual harassment off the table. But he also pointedly says they won't talk about it but Mike is free to talk about it and it came out as kind of a dare ("speak your mind if you want Mike but you'll never get another job on baseball if you do" kind of dare ). Note that Dewitt is the most powerful owner in baseball.

Also note that after the dust settles, Shildt gets a Cush job working for MLB (now supplemented by being a Padres coach)

So what happened?

It appears based on the little that was said that "something" was said in those 1:1s. Either by Mike to Mo or by the coaches to Mo. there is one reporter saying that Mike was mean to his coaching staff.

But there are also other possibilities:

- Shildt was never intended to be the " the guy " and he unfortunately kept getting the cardinals into the playoffs. Seems far-fetched but possible
- Shildt had several bad PR episodes. Edman called out the coaching staff for bad pre-game planning. Shildt complained about lack of starting pitching in May when all their starters went down. Shildt came out and made the sticky stuff issue a big issue. Mo and Dewitt are known not to like people who cast a bad PR shadow. They've exited a number of players who has tainted the brand (Arozarena and Pham come to
Mind )
- Shildt hated Jeff Albert the hitting coach. The problem here is that Albert was hired not only as hitting coach but to develop an entire system wide hitting philosophy - Shildt dumping on Albert was a big deal.
- Shildt was known as being a lousy user of stats and a bad tactical manager. The problem with this is that every manager gets tagged with this label sooner or later. That was more a fanbase issues - unclear whether the front office felt that way.

The most likely answer is that Shildt thought he was part of the leadership team when in fact Mo viewed him as just a manager. After a 17 game win streak it's possible he was trying to carve out a stronger managerial role ( ala TLR) and Mo wanted no part of it. Mo likely feared he would win again this year and decided rather than extending the guy, they didn't want a lame duck for another year.

It's helpful to remember that Mo got his job because there had been a huge issue between Jocketty and Luhnow. Plus he has had to put up with TLR having a direct line to DeWitt for a long time and wanted to make sure he was coMpletely in control.

My guess is that Mo simply didn't like Shildt personally or professionally and convinced the Owner to let him hire someone who would just do what Mo wanted.
   9. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 01, 2022 at 12:43 AM (#6069909)
Note that Dewitt is the most powerful owner in baseball.

I'm not trolling or anything, but am curious as to why you think this or by what measure? There are a lot billionaires in baseball and everyone of these guys holds a lot of sway.
   10. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: April 01, 2022 at 08:21 AM (#6069916)
#9 beat me to it.
   11. The Duke Posted: April 01, 2022 at 08:35 AM (#6069917)
He's often acknowledged as being the power behind Manfred's throne

"Bill DeWitt Jr. is among the most powerful in Major League Baseball, according to USA Today Sports.

USA Today Sports ranked the Cardinals owner number four on their ‘The 100 most powerful people in MLB’ list, he comes in first among MLB owners on the list.

“Dewitt has been CEO of the Cardinals since 1996, but has risen to considerable power under Rob Manfred, and is Manfred’s closest ally in ownership circles. He is a former chairman of the executive council and also a former chairman of the Commissioner’s succession committee that helped elect Manfred. Manfred, in fact, may not have been elected commissioner without DeWitt’s strong influence. He succeeds Jerry Reinsdorf as the most powerful owner in the game.” USA Today sports said."
   12. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: April 01, 2022 at 03:56 PM (#6070003)
That list was a very interesting list. Some of it has aged well (it is 5 years old) and some of it is just interesting.

That's not to quibble over the initial question. Manfred is still Manfred, so it's not likely that Dewitt has lost influence. It just seemed to come out of nowhere when reading the thread - like finding out that the Seattle Seahawks' owner is secretly running the NFL. There are much higher-profile franchises, there are much higher-profile owners (publicly, anyway), but league politics are what they are.
   13. The Honorable Ardo Posted: April 01, 2022 at 04:12 PM (#6070005)
Shildt's record speaks for itself. People get run out of jobs for silly upper management reasons all the time. He'll be managing a different ballclub sooner or later; I'd want my team to have him.
   14. phredbird Posted: April 01, 2022 at 04:23 PM (#6070006)

I'd want my team to have him.

ya, i guess i would too but the critique upthread about his bad use of stats etc. is probably echoed by several of the cards nation guys on this site esp. when it came to relief pitching.
   15. greenback does not like sand Posted: April 01, 2022 at 06:41 PM (#6070029)
Matheny took #### for being a poor manager of the bullpen the year the Cardinals won 100 games. That's just what people do. I'm not going to say I'm pure, but complaining about failure to comply with stats is noise.
   16. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 01, 2022 at 08:46 PM (#6070042)

It appears based on the little that was said that "something" was said in those 1:1s. Either by Mike to Mo or by the coaches to Mo. there is one reporter saying that Mike was mean to his coaching staff.

Duke: Im sure you know more about the situation than me. But if I recall, there were primates here that were saying that Schildt was going to be gone well before the season ended. Going from memory and I could be wrong but it seemed like at least one or two guys knew he was going to go.

So Im just saying maybe it was something that's been going on for a while.

It's a pretty in depth analysis you made, so Im jes saying.
   17. The Duke Posted: April 01, 2022 at 09:19 PM (#6070050)
This from the day of the firing:

DeWitt also said this: “This is based on differences between Mo and his group and the manager. It didn’t have anything to do with this year. I value continuity, but I value continuity if we are continuing to head in the right direction.”

And this from the Athletic: Sources within the organization and at least one outside of the organization believed there was growing controversy between Shildt and his coaching staff over his leadership tactics and communication, something that potentially came to light during the organization’s annual end-of-year all-staff meeting held on Oct. 8.

Who knows but it seemed sudden.

There's a lot of pressure on Mo to have a great season now. A step back under Marmol would not be a good look
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: April 01, 2022 at 10:18 PM (#6070064)
Shildt was fired because of his incompetent bullpen management, his insistence of batting Yadier in the top 2/3rd of the lineup and his unwillingness to embrace analytics... It's literally that simple. The team has a philosophy from the ground up that they expect to be shown at the highest level, when the guy at the highest level keeps making decisions that is clearly against the teams philosophy that they are preaching, something has to change.

Shildt was loved in the clubhouse, but is even worse tactical manager than Whitey Herzog on his best days... I am not a fan of the firing personally because he got performance out of players etc... but my god I don't think I've ever seen a manager in red be as incompetent of a bullpen manager...and that includes Torre. Shildt refused analytics, it's roughly that simple to be honest.
   19. Rough Carrigan Posted: April 01, 2022 at 10:32 PM (#6070067)
Regarding Schildt's bullpen use, was it the same in the regular season as in the playoff's or pennant deciding games? Red Sox fans were sometimes frustrated with Francona's bullpen usage in midseason games but then come the playoffs, his decisions were excellent, pure win the game stuff and nothing else. The term "Playoff Tito" came to be used. But he was different in the regular season when they were trying to see if a guy who'd been a loogy could be stretched to handle weak righty hitters or if certain guys were a little tired or banged up. And he'd bow to the save stat usage in the regular season. But come October his choices were unassailable even by carping know it alls like all of us.

Was Schildt's usage the same in regular season and playoffs?
   20. The Duke Posted: April 02, 2022 at 05:06 PM (#6070116)
The pitching staff was largely run by Mike Maddux who is still there. 2019 was a good year and there's certainly no glaring managerial missteps. 2020 he has massive covid problem which forced him to use many, many pitchers. He was a masterful at getting the team through that. Last year, he had no starting pitching that could get through 6 innings except wainwright. Four out of every five days he had to use half his bullpen. He roughly did the following: on good bullpen days he used Cabrera (6th), Garcia (7th), Gallegos (8th) and Reyes (9th). On bad bullpen days he used all the other guys in some mish mash. He had to get a ton of Innings from the pen and I think he and Maddux used a fixed routine to do that. So regardless of how well they pitched he would yank them after one inning to preserve them for the next game.

I hated it, but it ultimately worked. The issue was having lousy starters. they explicitly said it wasn't his 2021 decision making (see above )

In the playoffs they faced a vastly superior dodger team and were easily Vanquished. He died using his best closer of the year (Reyes) - Reyes was a shell of himself but you gotta dance with the girl you brought to the dance. There weren't enough innings to rate his playoff usage. It was a wild card loss

As we see now with Reyes, he was likely injured which explains his drop off
   21. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 02, 2022 at 08:18 PM (#6070136)
its really fascinating and enjoyable discussion. Thanks to all the primates.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 02, 2022 at 08:32 PM (#6070137)
Reyes was a shell of himself but you gotta dance with the girl you brought to the dance.
I don’t think that’s what teams are looking for in a bullpen management philosophy these days.

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