ST. LOUIS, Mo. (BaseballStL) -- Amidst the tragedy that was dealing with the death of outfielder Oscar Taveras, the Cardinals found out this week they would have to replace a member of their coaching staff in Mike Aldrete. The bench coach for the last three seasons under Mike Matheny bolted St. Louis for Oakland in order to be closer to home.
It’s not all that dissimilar to Mark McGwire leaving the Cardinals for the Dodgers a couple years ago.
This is the first major hole Matheny will have to fill in his tenure. Now, the options are many. The Cards could fill this job internally or externally. Heck, the Cubs just fired Rick Renteria from his managerial post in order to make room for Joe Maddon. He could be a fit.
But if there is anything we have learned from the Cardinals over the last several years it’s that they love to promote from within. They love to bring up the next guy in the organization in order to show others in the system if you continue to work hard there will be opportunities for you in the future.
When Mike Matheny took over three years ago the Cardinals gave opportunities to Aldrete along with Chris Maloney (now the 1st base coach). When McGwire left as hitting coach that job had John Mabry written all over it.
So while someone such as Renteria could be a fit because of his managerial experience it still is unlikely they’ll go that direction.
Obvious candidates to be the next bench coach include Maloney (with someone internally moving up to replace him as 1st base coach), Ron “Pop” Warner (AAA manager) and maybe even Mike Shildt (AA manager).
Warner has long been one of the popular names within the organization due to his relationships with players. Shildt has a lot of fans in the front office as well.
The likely bet would be moving Maloney to bench coach, promoting Warner to the big league staff replacing as 1st base coach and then promoting Shildt to Memphis as the AAA manager. It’s similar to what the Cardinals did when Maloney moved from Memphis to St. Louis and Warner moved from Springfield to Memphis.
That’d be the odds on favorite to happen in my opinion.
Obviously, whoever replaces Aldrete has to be someone that gets along very well with Mike Matheny. You are his right hand man after all and run spring training. It’s impossible to know what Matheny’s true feelings are towards any number of these guys.
But if Maloney was good enough to be moved up to St. Louis as 1st base coach a few years ago you would have to assume he’s good enough to be the new bench coach now. It’s the logical progression.
Surprises can happen though. The Cardinals have proven they can always go out and do what we least expect them to do.