Salvador Perez has been on the mend for roughly a year-and-a-half now, but he could be ready to make an impact in the shortened 2020 season.
Speaking with reporters on Friday, Royals manager Mike Matheny gave an encouraging update about Perez’s health. Matheny said that the veteran catcher was “in better shape” now than he was in the first round of spring training, per Alec Lewis of The Athletic.
Perez, the six-time All-Star, missed the entire 2019 season after tearing the UCL in his right elbow and having to undergo Tommy John surgery. The 30-year-old was in usual top form during his last healthy season in 2018, hitting 27 home runs with 80 RBIs en route to Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards.
While Perez did suffer a bizarre unrelated injury at the start of that year too, he appears to be inching closer to finally putting the injury bug behind him.
The Kansas City Royals have found their next manager, and the person they hired is the one who has been favored to land the job for quite some time.
The Royals have reached agreement on a contract with Mike Matheny, as first reported by Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.
Kansas City had a vacancy at manager after Ned Yost retired. He was with the team for the last nine years. Matheny, a former MLB catcher who won four Gold Glove Awards, was said to be the frontrunner for the job from the start.
Matheny, 49, managed the Cardinals from 2012-2018. They reached the World Series in his second season but he was fired last year amid a third straight season without a playoff appearance. Matheny used some questionable tactical decisions during his tenure, and some Royals fans have not been thrilled with the idea of his hiring. The team obviously believes he is the best man for the job.
Ned Yost has retired after nine seasons as the manager of the Kansas City Royals, meaning they have a vacancy to fill. Mike Matheny is believed to be the likely replacement.
When Yost retired, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale said Matheny was expected to become the team’s next manager.
Sportsbetting.ag released odds on the team’s next manager Monday and listed Matheny as the favorite with +200 odds.
Matheny, 49, managed the Cardinals from 2012-2018. They reached the World Series in his second season but he was fired last year amid a third straight season without a postseason appearance. Matheny used some questionable tactical decisions during his tenure, and some Royals fans are not thrilled with the idea of his hiring.
If the St. Louis Cardinals were trying to send a message by firing manager Mike Matheny, it appears to have been received.
Longtime Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright even went so far as to compare Matheny’s firing to Albert Pujols’s decision to leave the organization after the 2011 season.
“It was like an organizational transformational moment,” Wainwright said, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The wakeup call to the team arrived today.”
There are several reasons why the Matheny firing was so jarring. The Cardinals are notoriously reluctant to make major changes like this, especially in the middle of the season. Plus, Matheny was a game over .500 this season — certainly below the Cardinals’ usual standards, but not the sort of disastrous record that usually gets managers fired during the middle of a season. There have also been some clubhouse issues that raised eyebrows.
Ultimately, firing a manager in the middle of the season is a big deal, but it’s way more jarring than usual when it’s the Cardinals doing.
The St Louis Cardinals are cleaning house with their coaching staff.
The Cardinals announced on Saturday evening that they have dismissed manager Mike Matheny, as well as assistant coaches John Mabry and Bill Mueller. Mike Shildt will serve as the team’s interim manager.
Matheny managed the Cardinals for six and a half seasons, beginning in 2012. He went 591-473 as manager, reaching the playoffs four times — all coming in his first four seasons. He led the team to the World Series once and two NLCS losses.
The Cardinals have slipped towards the middle of the NL Central in recent years, and with the All-Star break coming, the Cardinals obviously felt it was time for a change.
There appears to be something of a rift between the St. Louis Cardinals’ manager and their franchise cornerstone.
On Thursday, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny strongly implied that he felt catcher Yadier Molina is dealing with a bit of fatigue from watching him run the bases, with backup catcher Carson Kelly getting a slightly larger role instead.
Molina clearly took umbrage with that assessment, posting Matheny’s quote on Instagram and calling it “misinforming.”
Molina is a proud guy who has chafed at questions in the past. He’s also a gamer who wants to play every single day. The fact that he chose to respond this way would seem to indicate that he’s particularly annoyed by this, though.
Jason Heyward’s reasoning for picking the Cubs over the Cardinals is not going down well within the St. Louis organization.
During his introductory press conference in Chicago, Heyward cited the Cubs’ young core as a major reason for going there, while at the same time noting that the Cardinals’ top players are getting older and older.
“You have Yadier [Molina] who is going to be done in two years maybe,” Heyward said. “You have Matt Holliday who is probably going to be done soon. There were already moves made with Jon Jay gone and then Tony Cruz and [Adam] Wainwright is probably going to be done in three or four years. Guys like that are what really introduced me to the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization. I felt like if I was to look up and in three years see a completely different team, that would be difficult.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny didn’t think much of that.
“I don’t think it’s going to ring too well with our club,” Matheny told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “If that is a big deal to him, he’s just being honest with people. But I don’t think we have anything to apologize for in having a group like a Holliday, a Molina, a Wainwright. Those are the kinds of guys everybody wants on a club.
“I see where he’s coming from. I mean, look at what Chicago’s done. It’s very unique in this game — to have that many impact players at that young age. And he’s a young player. But I can’t say I’m in any kind of agreement with that core being better than any kind of core that we have. That veteran group also helps drive what the younger group turns into. I don’t blame him. But I don’t like it. I thought we created a really good atmosphere and he had to weigh what was most important to him.”
Matheny has every right to stick up for his organization, and few clubs have had the success that the Cardinals have with that core over the last decade or so. The reality is, though, that the Cardinals are getting a bit older. Wainwright missed most of 2015 with injury, and Molina is dealing with one now. The Cubs already bested them in the playoffs, and if you asked anyone whose core you would want for the eight year duration of Heyward’s deal, most people would probably want the Cubs. Plus, there’s a definite allure to the prospect of being on the first Cubs team to take home a World Series title in over a hundred years, which is a goal that’s suddenly looking quite realistic. Despite their perennial contention, it’s been four years since the Cardinals won a championship, and there’s a case to be made that the Cubs have the roster more likely to win another one before St. Louis does.
The Cardinals are still a great organization, but sometimes there’s a better, more appealing fit for a player like Heyward. That’s just what happened here.
The St. Louis Cardinals saw their season end Thursday night with their top two relievers still in the bullpen while a guy who hadn’t pitched in a month gave up a walk, single and walk-off 3-run home run.
It wasn’t exactly Mike Matheny’s finest hour as a manager.
But what will infuriate most enlightened baseball fans is Matheny’s reasoning for not using his closer — which is by definition the best reliever in a given team’s bullpen — during the game. Here was his logic:
“We can’t bring [closer Trevor Rosenthal] in, in a tie-game situation. We’re on the road,” Matheny said of not using Rosenthal, via the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz.
Here’s our response to that line of thinking:
Nope, I’m not going to put in my best reliever to try keeping the opposing team off the board to give my offense another chance to win it because I’m too concerned with making sure our best guy is around in the case we get the lead.
This is an issue of ABCs, Matheny. You have to pass through A and B before jumping to C, bro. Why don’t you worry about who gives you the best chance of shutting down the Giants’ 4-5-6 hitters first?
Maybe he didn’t realize it was an elimination game.
Not only did Matheny not use Rosenthal because it was a tie game, but he also opted for Michael Wacha, who hadn’t pitched since Sept. 26 and has been hampered by a shoulder injury. Unsurprisingly, Wacha struggled. Matheny still had Seth Maness, who only had given up 5 hits and no runs in 5.2 innings this postseason, and Carlos Martinez. I understand not bringing in a lefty like Marco Gonzales or Randy Choate to face Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt and Ishikawa, since both of those pitchers had struggled. But who wants to see their season end with better options still left in the bullpen? That’s just poor managing.
The St. Louis Cardinals are struggling at the plate. The defending National League champions rank 29th in baseball in runs scored this season and have scored three or fewer runs in nine of their last 16 games. The Cards are also hitting just .243 with runners in scoring position this year, a full 87 points lower than their remarkable 2013 average.
Mike Matheny is well aware of the stats and struggles. He also realizes his team is just two games out of first and is very much in the playoff hunt, so the Cardinals manager is growing tired of hearing negative feedback.
“You’re putting as much work if not more now than what you did last year when things were going so well,” Matheny said earlier this week, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “You’ve got people taking cheap shots all the time. You’re human. You wear that. Plus you know that the (players) are not happy with where the guys are right now.
“If you have coaches who don’t care, then they’re just putting in their time and chalking it up to a number of issues. That’s not what we have.”
The Cardinals have been shut out 11 times this season, but they are still pitching fairly well (12th in the majors with a 3.59 team ERA). While it might be time to make some adjustments, Matheny certainly doesn’t feel that his team needs to panic.
“I don’t care what anybody else thinks about the statement I’m about to make but our best offense is ahead of us,” Matheny said. “I’m 100 percent convinced of that. … We can’t do our job in defense of criticism. It’s never going to work out. Just keep doing the job and in the end it will come out in the wash.”
The Cardinals will be just fine. Their manager knows how to wear one on the chin. No, really, he does.
St. Louis Cardinals reliever Carlos Martinez learned a hard lesson on Monday about the way Twitter works. When you “favorite” a tweet so you can easily access it in the future, that tweet is added to your public list of favorites. Prior to Monday afternoon, Martinez’s favorites were loaded with pornographic images.
On Tuesday, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told reporters that the team reached out to Martinez on Monday evening to help him remove the photos.
“We’re embarrassed, and he’s embarrassed,” Matheny said, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’m not trying to shove my morality down anybody’s throat. But I also need these guys to understand that it’s not just me that they need to be concerned about. There are a bunch of young guys that absolutely admire these guys and everything that they do. Realize – is this something you’d want your kids to see? Is this something that you want to be known for? Is this how you want to be remembered?”
The Cardinals organization has had several meetings with the players lately to discuss the use of social media, and Martinez’s embarrassing list was certainly a teaching moment.
“Anything that you do right now is one fraction of a second away from being all over the world,” Matheny said. “There has never been a time in history like this. That just heightens our message and heightens our urgency to make sure we are diligent and we are disciplined to educate and make aware that something like this happens it’s going to be an embarrassment to you. Something like this happens it’s going to be an embarrassment to us.”
While Matheny said the situation was a “distraction,” he also noted that Martinez acknowledged his mistake. At this point, there’s really nothing else he can do. Carlos likes porn, and unfortunately everyone knows about it.
H/T MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch