The weather forecast for St. Louis on Monday afternoon called for overcast skies and temperatures in the upper 50s. Good news for Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who wouldn't want to risk precipitation ruining his fashionable (if vulnerable) jacket after he gave his end-of-the-season press conference at Busch Stadium.
While discussing topics such as Carlos Beltran's impeding free agency, where Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez will pitch in 2014 (to relieve or not to relieve?) and what's up with Shelby Miller, Matheny looked like a latter-day Jerry Seinfeld in his brown suede coat:
The group message to his team: "Remember what we've been able to do, and remember how few people thought we'd be able to do this, outside of the group inside that room."
Who will be the closer? "There's no reason to go any differently than how we ended, than with Trevor Rosenthal as the guy getting the saves for us. ... This is a touchy topic because we know Trevor would like to start, and we don't deny that it could realistically happen. He'd do a terrific job at it. You look at our club and what we have a need for, that bullpen is all based around our closer. We have a lot of confidence in how he has been able to handle that position, and we move forward with him being that guy and that's the message we give him."
What will Carlos Martinez do? "Be prepared to start."
How big of a loss would Carlos Beltran be in free agency? "I'm not going there yet because we don't know that it's going to be the case. ... I told him and reminded him what an incredible season he had for us. And not just what he was able to statistically, but also how great of a job he did as a leader, a consistent source of, an example of how you go about this business. I refuse to ... it's not right, it's not a fact. We don't know how this whole thing's going to play out. So it wasn't as if this was a good-bye. That's not where we are."
Shelby Miller made one appearance in the postseason after making 31 starts and finishing 10th in the National League in ERA. Might there be any lingering effects on him?
"I feel very comfortable with the fact that I had quite a few conversations — just about daily — multiple conversations daily with him, trying to keep him spurred on, [for] one, sharp in his mind. I just never did know when we would need him and how that was going to look. And that was the honest truth. That message every day was, 'I need you ready early in your mind. You come in here [if] we need you.' I don't know how this looks going forward. He goes in if somebody needed help early and he's dominant, there's a good chance he's going to be thrown right back into that opportunity (again). He knew and I know he believed that. ... Our vision of him moving forward is a top-of-the-rotation style pitcher.
"We also lose sight of the fact that this was his first full season. That was a month-plus longer than he's ever competed in his life in tough circumstances. That's a huge step forward to pitch in the postseason."
More Matheny Suede:
On left-hander Jaime Garcia coming back: "He was very close. He's on track."
On former Jason Motte's rehab from Tommy John: "We anticipate him competing for a spot in spring training."
On the down season had by David Freese: "Physically, David went through ups and downs. ... I know he wanted more. He had a rough time finding it this fall. I know he worked hard."
On the Cardinals relying too much on the home run and not enough on team speed, like Whitey Herzog would do it: "I do believe exactly like Earl Weaver's philosophy of getting the three-run home run. It's a pretty good idea and I don't disagree with it. I do understand the negative of going in and trying to hit the home run. These guys do too. They know it's not how you go about having a successful at-bat. I'd venture to say this team's going to have higher power numbers next year."
On the team batting .330 with runners in scoring position: "Are they going to be able to produce with runners in scoring position again ? That's going to be tough to come by as well."
Matheny then turned his jacket inside out and walked away for the offseason.
Big BLS H/N: @ChrisMChaines
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