One of the things we covered Wednesday night on our podcast was whether Mike Matheny could be a good playoff manager as he currently is, or whether he needs a mentor/guru/tactician on his bench to help him do better in the playoffs. Basically, we were considering whether to replace Mike Aldrete with a former manager to be ala Dale Sveum to Ned Yost, or Don Zimmer to Joe Torre.
Matheny, as we discussed, basically manages *every* game like it’s the regular season. This is not ideal in the post-season, and makes it appear like Mike can’t adapt to the higher pressure situation that is the playoffs
Given that the Cards (we hope) are going to continue being regulars in the playoffs, either Matheny needs to recogize the difference, or he’ll continue to struggle in the post season, and he’ll be shown the door despite making the playoffs regularly ala Dusty Baker.
.Since it’s unlikely Matheny will instantly correct this, and given that management has commited to Matheny for at least another year, we turn to the bench coach idea.
Now, I have nothing against Mike Aldrete, but he’s not a former major league manager.
But here’s another question: Does just hiring a former manager work, or does it have to be a former manager with playoff experience, someone who knows how to react under playoff pressure? And if so, where would we find such an animal? I’m not sure, many former managers with such experience are probably enjoying their retirement, and the ones itching to get back in the game would probably prefer to do it at the management level or higher (see La Russa, Tony).
However, what if you took a manager, one who managed for a penny pinching team in the past, one with very little chance of winning, but still did ok (but didn’t make the playoffs) what about a guy like that? Said guy may not have any playoff experience, but that doesn’t mean he’s not smart tactically. Plus many of these managers were merely placeholders. Of course, some of the placeholders may have been secretly good, but others may have been as bad as their won/loss record indicates.
For example, how good of a manager was Bo Porter? Nobody knows, because he wasn’t given the chance to win anything, he was merely a placeholder. But what if, among those placeholders, was a bona fide manager who could provide tactical wisdom to a guy like Mike? And wouldn’t some of those former managers/placeholders jump at a chance to work for a team with a roster designed to win now, after having to put up with all that losing? Wouldn’t that be a great way for a former manager to rebuild his value, so that he could in the future, possibly get another managing gig where he *would* have a chance to win?
Now, I’m not sure which former manager to choose, I’ll leave that determination up to the Cardinals’ upper management, they’re a little smarter than me. I do, however, think it’s an idea worth pursuing.
As always, thanks for reading.