St. Louis Cardinals: Mike Matheny Signs 3-year Extension

On Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals signed manager Mike Matheny to a 3 year extension ending in 2020.

The St. Louis Cardinals had a disappointing 2016 season after missing the playoffs and despite that, manager Mike Matheny was offered a deal that extended his contract until 2020. Many fans throughout Cardinals Nation may not be pleased with John Mozeliak’s decision, but you don’t just fire a manager whose worst of five seasons ended with a playoff push until the final game. And Mozeliak didn’t exactly have many better options.

Tony La Russa was a tough act to follow and the fans have made it clear success is the only option. Matheny is constantly burdened with the blame of a loss and very seldom given the credit for a win. And yes, Matheny has made managerial mistakes.

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In 2016 alone we saw a team that could barely run the bases or field a baseball consistently. We also saw Matheny’s odd choices for playing time and bullpen usage, but how many managers are perfect at that? As we saw in throughout the postseason and in the World Series, managers like Buck Showalter, Terry Francona, and World Series winner Joe Maddon all made questionable decisions.

We also saw Matheny grow this year. It wasn’t too long ago that every fan in Cardinals Nation believed Trevor Rosenthal was the closer no matter what. Well, Rosie had a rough year but Matheny was the one to change his approach in “high leverage” situations.

Next season needs to be different. There needs to be a plan because in 2016, it looked like there wasn’t one. Ideally, a manager wouldn’t have to plan for the collapse of the starting pitching staff and the defense, but now there needs to be one.

The 2016 season was a test for the players and the manager. It was the first season Matheny has “failed” so 2017 should tell us a lot. This was the 5th youngest team in all of baseball last season with an average age of 28.3 and fans often forget that due to the past success. But, as in all sports, its not about what you did in the past, its about what you do now.

The decision to announce Mike Matheny’s extension one day after the rival Chicago Cubs win the World Series is interesting. It doesn’t quite hold the kind of excitement and support that it may have later in the month. But, the message and symbolism is clear. 2016 is over and 2017 starts now.

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