Big Minor League Coaching Changes for Cards

Major changes at the Class A level as three St. Louis Cardinals minor league managers will not be back in their roles next season and many pitching and hitting coaching re-assignments, too.

Following a season in which their three Class A clubs each won fewer games than the year prior, missed the post-season and a number of the emerging prospects did not advance as well as hoped, the St. Louis Cardinals are making three managerial changes.

The contracts of Quad Cities' Steve Dillard and Palm Beach's Tom Spencer were not renewed and Batavia manager Mark DeJohn is moving into an organizational role in 2010 as the senior roving field instructor.

In addition, major changes are occurring among the coaching ranks as seven of the nine pitching coaches will be new in their jobs for 2010 along with four of the nine hitting coaches. All seven of the newly-assigned pitching coaches already worked in the organization as did two of the four hitting coaches. The other two jobs are currently open.

In Arizona Wednesday at the Fall League, Cardinals Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jeff Luhnow downplayed the significance of moves up or down in the minor league team hierarchy.

"One of the philosophies that I and we subscribe to is that really, it is less important what level you are at," Luhnow explained. "I know there is a lot of focus put on that because the players move up levels and that is considered a promotion, when you are moved down that is considered a demotion.

"When you are talking about aligning instructors in a minor league system, you really want to match the instructor with the students, if you will. Sometimes it is better for an instructor to go to a particular level, even if it is a lower level because we want our instructors to be at the highest level where they can make an impact," Luhnow said.

Among the highlights:

- Derek Lilliquist leaps from coordinating rehabbing pitchers in Jupiter to the Triple-A Memphis pitching coach while his predecessor Blaise Ilsley takes his old job as Jupiter complex pitching coordinator.

- Another 2010 job switch occurred between 2009 Palm Beach pitching coach Dennis Martinez and his Springfield counterpart Bryan Eversgerd.

- The new managers are Johnny Rodriguez at Quad Cities and Dann Bilardello with Batavia. Rodriguez was the hitting coach at Johnson City last season while Bilardello was the organization's minor league catching coordinator. The Palm Beach and Venezuelan Summer League managerial jobs have not yet been filled.

Both years of coaching rosters are included for reference.

2010 Manager Pitching Coach Hitting Coach Trainer
Mem Chris Maloney Derek Lilliquist Mark Budaska Chris Conroy
Spr Ron Warner Dennis Martinez Derrick May Jay Pierson
PB TBD Bryan Eversgerd Jeff Albert B. Puchalski
QC Johnny Rodriguez Tim Leveque TBD M. Kuwazuru
Bat Dann Bilardello Arthur Adams Joe Kruzel Eric Bauer
JC Mike Shildt Doug White Ramon Ortiz Mike Petrarca
GCL Steve Turco Henderson Lugo TBD Tim Steinhaus
DSL Claudio Almonte Bill Villanueva Rene Rojas
VSL TBD Dernier Orozco Jesus Laya

2009 Manager Pitching Coach Hitting Coach Trainer
Mem Chris Maloney Blaise Ilsley Mark Budaska Chris Conroy
Spr Ron Warner Bryan Eversgerd Derrick May Jay Pierson
PB Tom Spencer Dennis Martinez Jeff Albert Eric Bauer
QC Steve Dillard Arthur Adams Joe Kruzel B. Puchalski
Bat Mark DeJohn Tim Leveque Ramon Ortiz M. Kuwazuru
JC Mike Shildt Doug White Johnny Rodriguez Mike Petrarca
GCL Steve Turco Dernier Orozco Javier Meza Tim Steinhaus
DSL Claudio Almonte Bill Villanueva Rene Rojas
VSL Enrique Brito Henderson Lugo Jesus Laya

(2010 changes in bold)

Roving Instructors/Rehab Coordinators: Dan Radison, hitting coordinator; Dyar Miller, pitching coordinator; Brent Strom, roving pitching instructor; Mark DeJohn, senior roving field instructor; Gaylen Pitts, special assistant to player development; Blaise Ilsley Jupiter complex pitching coordinator; Adam Olsen, rehabilitation coordinator; Keith Joynt, assistant rehabilitation coordinator.

Premium Article In part two of this article for The Cardinal Nation subscribers, we will look at the careers of both the new and departing managers and follow that up with a deep dive into the pitching coaches' careers. 45 minutes of Luhnow interviews are also coming, so subscribe now to not miss out.



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

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