The Cardinals made the mid-week splash during a quiet week. Coaching changes, Adam Wainwright returning, and more this time.
The Coaching Carousel
If there was one thing I didn’t see changing much, it was the coaching staff. The first move was the one I was expecting: Skip Schumaker was named the manager for the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. Schumaker has been tied to a few vacancies in the last few years, so his time was coming. It won’t be an easy job; the Marlins finished this year 69-93, and haven’t had a full season winning record since 2009 (they were 1 game over .500 in the shortened 2020 season).
Then Wednesday the Cardinals dropped the bomb that hitting coach Jeff Albert, pitching coach Mike Maddux, and bullpen coach Bryan Eversgerd would not return to their roles; Albert declined a new contract, Maddux needs a change after being a pitching coach for many years, while Eversgerd is being reassigned within the organization.
Albert cited external pressure as a reason for leaving; he was constantly criticized by fans on social media for any lapse in hitting. Some may think he’s being soft, but there is probably more we don’t know. I’m willing to guess that he got DMs from fans about the horrible job he was doing, and possibly received threats. While fans were quick to blame Albert, he received no credit for a top 5 offense in the NL, nor for bringing the Cardinals system into the modern ages with his hitting philosophies. I’ve got a longer article come on this.
Maddux has been a MLB pitching coach since 2003, spending time with the Brewers, Rangers, Nationals, and Cardinals. It’s understandable that he’s tired and ready for a change. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes a position within the organization that wouldn’t require travel; something like Jose Oquendo is doing in Jupiter, working with the minor leaguers.
Eversgerd will remain in with the Cardinals as a special assistant, most likely to the GM.
Now the speculation begins on the new coaches. Matt Holliday is probably the most realistic of fan expectations, although it might not happen this off-season. He wants to coach, but his youngest son is in high school and a big time prospect; I’m thinking Holliday will take a coaching role after his son graduates. Freshly retired Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina are being mentioned by fans, but neither is likely to coach at this point either; both will probably want a little time away before rejoining the game. Chris Carpenter could be a name to watch; he’s worked in the Cardinals organization and has been vocal about coaching.
Adam Wainwright’s Contract
We also learned this week Wainwright is returning to the Cardinals. We knew it was a 1-year deal, but nothing was said about money at the time of the announcement. We now know he’ll receive $17.5M for the season, although only $7.5M will be in 2023; the remaining $10M will be paid out annually in $1M increments until 2033. He’ll also receive full no trade protection and a suite on road trips. He’ll also receive performance bonuses, including $500k for 28 starts, another $500k he gets to 30, $500k for a top 10 Cy Young finish, $50k for an All Star appearance or MVPs in the LCS/WS or Gold Glove, and $25k for a Silver Slugger.
Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman received their first awards for 2022; both receive Fielding Bible Awards. Arenado was named top defensive third baseman by Baseball Info Solutions, while Edman received their top Utility Player award. This is Arenado’s 5th award, while Edman is receiving his first.
- MLB Trade Rumors looks at the Cardinals Off-Season.
- Cards Conclave addresses the pitching coach vacancy.
- Viva El Birdos thinks there should be low standards for our next catcher.
- Redbird Rants recaps the 2020 draft.
I’ll be back next week with more, along with some season ending articles.