Despite considerable turnover in both the player and coaching ranks over the past two years, the St. Louis Cardinals have enjoyed stability in their bottom line results – winning clubs and playoff appearances.
In 2013, manager Mike Matheny again guided the Cards to the post-season in his second year at the helm. He is the only manager in team history to pilot the club into the post-season in his first two years in the job.
With one year remaining on Matheny’s initial managerial contract, the Cardinals organization gave the 43-year-old a three-year extension. The new deal, running through the 2017 season, was announced by principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak at a November 20th press conference.
Matheny the manager is not yet a finished product. At times, he seems late making pitching changes. His potential over-reliance on star players raised questions several times, from Carlos Beltran in 2012 to Yadier Molina in 2013. Giving ace Adam Wainwright extra mid-season starts raised eyebrows as did the decline in performance of oft-used former closer Edward Mujica.
Yet, overall Matheny receives high marks from his players and insiders across the game. Matheny helped blaze the recently-adopted path of MLB clubs hiring age 40-something first-time managers. He is a leader, respected outside of MLB as well.
Further, no one can dispute Matheny’s bottom line.
The 2013 Cardinals compiled the best record in the National League and tied Boston for the top regular season mark in Major League Baseball before dropping the World Series in six games. The regular season victory total of 97 was highest by a Cardinals team since the 100-win club of 2005.
Now, the club and manager will be together for four at least more seasons.