Mike Matheny, John Mozeliak (Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports Images)

Mike Matheny is now under contract to manage the St. Louis Cardinals through 2020, with two new coaches on the 2017 staff.

Mike Matheny is now under contract to manage the St. Louis Cardinals through 2020, with two new coaches on the 2017 staff.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Thursday) that they have signed Manager Mike Matheny to a three-year extension through the 2020 season.

Matheny, 46, has led the Cardinals to a 461-349 record over his five seasons as manager, averaging 92 wins per season, the most wins among all Major League managers since 2012.  The Cardinals won three consecutive National League Central Division titles (2013-15), a National League Championship in 2013 and made the postseason in four of Matheny’s first five seasons.  Matheny’s .569 winning percentage currently ranks 18th all-time in the history of Major League Baseball managers and he stands 5th on the Cardinals all-time managerial wins list.

“Mike has continued the Cardinals tradition of winning in his first five years as manager and we are happy to extend his contract leading our club on the field through 2020,” said Cardinals Principal Owner and CEO, Bill DeWitt, Jr.

The Cardinals coaching staff has promoted Palm Beach manager Oliver Marmol to the Major League first base coaching position, while Memphis manager Mike Shildt was promoted to the Cardinals Quality Control Coach, a uniform position on the Major League staff.  Bill Mueller will return to his duties as Assistant Hitting Coach, a position he held in 2015.  All of the remaining coaches will return to their positions in 2017 except for Assistant Hitting Coach Derrick May, who will not return.  May was added to the staff for 2016 when third base coach Jose Oquendo had to take a medical leave of absence.

Several transactions were made in the Cardinals Scouting Department.  The Cardinals hired Bob Gebhard as a Senior Special Assistant to the General Manager.  Gebhard was a past member of the Cardinals front office staff from 2000-04 and will be entering his 53rd season working in professional baseball.  Jared Odom was promoted to Manager of Pro Scouting, giving Baseball Operations Analyst Tyler Hadzinsky an increased role in amateur scouting.

Matt Bayer received a new title of Amateur Baseball Analyst, increasing his role in scouting players with an emphasis on the department’s new incorporation of video scouting.

Long-time Cardinals National and Southeast Regional Cross Checker Roger Smith announced his retirement at the conclusion of 2016, leading to several promotions in the Cardinals Scouting department.

Aaron Looper was promoted into Smith’s role of National Cross Checker, Aaron Krawiec was promoted to West Regional Cross Checker, Ty Boyles was promoted to Midwest Regional Cross Checker and Kevin Saucier (saw-SHAY), a 25-year veteran of the Major League Scouting Bureau, was hired as the Southeast Regional Cross Checker.

Changes in the Amateur Scouting department of the Cardinals include the hiring of Brock Ungricht, a former assistant baseball coach at Stanford University, as a Southern California area scout.  Jabari Barnett, who was the Amateur Scouting Video Coordinator with the Los Angeles Dodgers, will take over the role of an area scout for the Cardinals in South Texas and Western Louisiana.  T.C. Calhoun, a 4th Coach with the Cardinals Texas League affiliate in Springfield (AA), takes over as area scout in the Virginias and North Carolina.  Nathan Sopena, the Cardinals 4th Coach with the Cardinals Midwest League affiliate in Peoria (A), will become an area scout in the Upper Midwest.

“We are pleased to move forward with Mike’s contract and a revamped coaching staff.  We are excited about the changes to our scouting department and look forward to finalizing our Player Development staff in the near future,” said Cardinals Sr. Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak.


Brian Walton’s take

The Matheny move had been telegraphed, with the only questions being the make-up of his 2017 coaching staff. Rather than shake up the staff by hiring experienced coaches from the outside, the Cardinals decided to promote from within. This delivers a message of continuity, not change, despite a 2016 club that had a number of execution-related issues on the field, including base running miscues and defensive lapses.


Shildt, 48, and Marmol, 30, are two of the Cardinals player development system’s most respected teachers. As managers, they have four league titles between them, three in short-season ball. Shildt is also a former scout and Marmol was an infielder, though the latter has never played or coached about high-A.


The key question for me is whether the two can actually continue to teach at the major league level – not necessarily an easy task.

Both Shildt (2010) and Marmol (2013) are former recipients of the organization’s prestigious George Kissel Award for Player Development, but then again, departing assistant hitting coach Derrick May (2014), who was the only 2016 coach not retained for 2017, had won it since either of them.


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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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