Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. says that skipper Mike Matheny will remain at the club’s helm next year, as Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Matheny’s contract runs expires after 2017.
There had been at least some outside questions of Matheny’s status, given the Cards’ somewhat disappointing 82-75 mark with five games left to play. St. Louis is still battling for a Wild Card spot, of course — and the team has already qualified for the postseason in all four prior seasons of Matheny’s tenure — but never really competed this year in an NL Central that has been dominated by the rival Cubs.
“Mike’s done a really good job for us,” said DeWitt. “There’s no thought that we’re going to go in any different direction.” The owner went on to explain that Matheny remains “a great leader” who isn’t responsible for what has been “one of those years where things haven’t worked.”
GM John Mozeliak also expressed confidence in the organization’s dugout chief, saying that the 46-year-old Matheny can be unfairly blamed when things don’t go smoothly. “Mike takes a lot of heat, and I’ve defended him and I will continue to,” said Mozeliak. “I really feel like some of the things that we’re dealing with aren’t fair to put on the manager.”
It is certainly hard to argue with Matheny’s overall results, though obviously he was entrusted with a talented and veteran-laden ballclub. Still, the former big league backstop has received his share of criticism for in-game management, focused particularly on his use of the bullpen.
Clearly, though, the Cardinals’ top decisionmakers don’t feel that any shortcomings in those areas override Mathany’s track record and overall management of the club. That being said, it’s not clear that any new contract discussions will take place, and Matheny could enter the 2017 season managing for his future in the organization.