Cardinals fire manager Mike Matheny amid multiple controversies

The St. Louis Cardinals announced a shocking organizational shakeup on Saturday, firing manager Mike Matheny during his seventh year with the team.

The move came after the Cardinals’ 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, which lowered their record to 47-46 and seven games behind the Cubs in the NL Central race. Matheny held a 591-474 career record as Cardinals manager and never finished a season with a losing record.

Since Matheny’s hiring ahead of the 2012 season, the Cardinals have captured one NL pennant and three division titles, but they hadn’t made the playoffs since 2015. Matheny had previously as a catcher played for the Cardinals from 2000 to 2004.

Cardinals announce firing of Mike Matheny and two other coaches

The team named bench coach Mike Shildt as interim manager and also announced the departures of hitting coach John Mabry and assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller.

“These decisions are never easy, but we felt that a change in leadership was necessary as the team prepares to enter into the second half of the season,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said in the release. “I would like to thank Mike for his exceptional commitment and devotion to the Cardinals organization, including many fond memories of our years working together.”

Mike Matheny was fired by the Cardinals amid a turbulent season. (AP Photo)
Mike Matheny was fired by the Cardinals amid a turbulent season. (AP Photo)

St. Louis Cardinals struggling on and off field

Matheny’s firing comes amid a turbulent season for the Cardinals on and off the field. The team sits well behind both the Brewers and Cubs in the standings and ranks only 20th in the majors in scoring with 407 runs. The most visible struggle has been that of outfielder Dexter Fowler, who has hitting .174/.270/.285 at the time of Matheny’s firing.

It was reported last week that Fowler and Matheny “barely talk,” though Mozeliak himself hit hot water when he publicly questioned Fowler’s effort level. Matheny was also recently reported to be OK with closer Bud Norris “mercilessly riding” and “badgering” rookie reliever Jordan Hicks, in which he was quoted as saying the game of baseball had “progressively gotten a little softer.”

The friction between Matheny’s old-school philosophy and the Cardinals’ front office was a major reason, according to St. Louis radio host Bernie Miklasz. Matheny’s quotes in regard to Norris’ treatment of Hicks reportedly drew particular ire.

Possible replacements for Mike Matheny

With Shildt in place as interim manager, it’s likely that the Cardinals will wait until the offseason to find a full-time replacement. They figure to have a number of candidates to take over the clubhouse, with speculation including former Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach.

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