Mike Shildt has worked in a hybrid coaching/player development job for the Padres this season, monitoring the organization’s farm system while occasionally joining the MLB dugout when other coaches are unavailable. It’s a less visible role than his previous position as Cardinals manager, a job he held for three-plus seasons before being fired after the 2021 campaign.
After some time away from the managerial office, Shildt expressed a desire to return to that role in a recent chat with Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’ve won my whole life. I’m more convinced now that I’m ready to manage again and win,” the 53-year-old told Hummel. Shildt conceded he’s “not sure what the market looks like” but added he feels he “more than (deserves) the opportunity to do it.”
As Shildt alluded, the Cardinals had no small amount of success under his watch. St. Louis went 252-199 (55.9% winning percentage) during his tenure, making the postseason in two of his three full seasons. He was named the National League’s Manager of the Year in 2019, and his dismissal registered as a shock after the Cards had reeled off a 17-game win streak down the stretch to land a Wild Card spot. Nevertheless, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak pointed to “philosophical differences” between Shildt and the front office as the reason for going in another direction.
Within days of the manager’s dismissal, reports emerged that Shildt had bristled at the front office’s attempts to more rigorously incorporate analytics into in-game decisions. Katie Woo of the Athletic wrote at the time that the front office’s quiet 2021 trade deadline also “played a role in the growing disconnect” between the front office and the skipper.
In his recent conversation with Hummel, Shildt largely passed on the opportunity to revisit the end of his Cardinals tenure. He conceded the firing is still painful but said he’s “getting beyond it and ready to get back into the fray with the right opportunity.” He declined to elaborate further on the reported disconnect between himself and organizational higher-ups, stating only that “a combination of things happened. … The past is the past. It’s time to move on.”
Shildt will presumably remain in his role with the Friars for at least the rest of this season, but his name figures to be on the radar during next winter’s managerial hunts. He’d reportedly been set to interview in San Diego’s own managerial search last offseason, but Shildt tells Hummel he declined that opportunity.
The Friars eventually poached Bob Melvin from the A’s, a hiring with which they’re surely thrilled after opening the season 41-24. The Cardinals are no doubt happy with how things played out themselves. St. Louis promoted bench coach Oli Marmol and is off to a 37-28 start. The teams hold small leads in their respective divisions entering play Friday.