Let’s meet the official managerial candidates!
The Cardinals have narrowed down their search and are known to have found six candidates to interview for the position according to Joe Strauss. These candidates are Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo, Memphis Redbirds manager Chris Maloney, Cardinals minor league coach Mike Matheny, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, former Chicago Cub hall of famer, and minor league manager Ryne Sandberg, and Chicago White sox AAA manager Joe McEwing. Now that these names have been officially given, let’s examine and take a look more closely at the six men who could be manager for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 and beyond.
Oquendo seems to be the number one choice on the majority of Cardinal Nations list’s for some reason. He is also the number one choice of Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols who have seen Oquendo their entire careers a coach for the Cardinals. Oquendo had a major league playing career mainly at second base, but he played all over the diamond in a career that spanned 12 seasons and he played for both the Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals. After his playing career Oquendo managed the New Jersey Cardinals in the New York-Penn League before he was offered the position bench coach in 1999. In 2000, Oquendo became the third base coach for the Cardinals a position he has held for 12 seasons all of them with the Cardinals. In 2006, Oquendo managed the Puerto Rico World Baseball Classic team and resumed the role in 2009. He has no major league managing experience and very little experiencing managing, but he does have a vast knowledge of the team and of baseball so he could be a good fit, but I feel he would be easily pushed over from the Cardinals players, some more than others (you know who I am talking about).
2.) Chris Maloney
Maloney has been a minor league manager in the Cardinals system since 1991(02-04 he spent with the Astros), he first started off as a single A manager and has more recently been the Memphis Redbirds AAA manager since 2006. As a manager for his career he has won 1,350 games and lost 1,250 for a .519 winning percentage. He is only 49 years old which makes him a great choice if the Cardinals want to see a younger manager, but Maloney has never played in or managed a major league game. But, that doesn’t mean he might not be successful as a big league manager, he just haven been given a chance.
Matheney is my favorite choice to become the next Cardinals manager. Matheny had a successful 13 season career in which he played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Francisco Giants. Matheny was most successful as a Cardinal where he won three of his four career gold gloves, and played in his only World Series. Matheny is young(41), has great baseball knowledge, and is familiar with the Cardinal clubhouse and organization. The only bad thing about Matheny is he has no managerial experience at all, he has served as a spring training and minor league coach for the Cardinals however.
4.) Terry Francona
Terry Francona was a longtime manager of the Boston Red Sox and before that as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Francona has the most managerial experience of the six men and has had a great managerial career with a record of 1,029-915(.529 winning percentage) and a career with two pennants and two World Series championships(’04,’07). Francona’s option was not picked up from the Red Sox after he was unsuccessful in reaching postseason play for two straight seasons. He is young only 52 years old and he has shown signs of success but also how much of that was due to the talented players he dealt with in Boston?
5.) Ryne Sandberg
I wrote an entire piece on Sandberg, which you can read here.
6.) Joe McEwing
McEwing was a former major league player who spent his first two season’s with the St. Louis Cardinals where he was known as Super Joe or Little Mac. McEwing was a defensive weapon and could play the field just about anywhere similarly to Jose Oquendo. After his brief MLB career, McEwing became a minor league manager in the Chicago White Sox system in 2008. Last season McEwing managed the AAA affiliate Charlotte Knights of the White Sox and was expected to be promoted to a MLB coach headed into 2012. He is very young just 39 years old and with his bried experience and young age, I do not see him being the right fit for the Cardinals, but who knows?