The St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday announced the surprise firing of manager Mike Shildt on the grounds of a recently emerged "philosophical difference" regarding how the club should approach the 2022 season.
Shildt's firing comes on the heels of a 92-win season and postseason berth for the Cardinals. Across parts of four seasons, the Cardinals finished 252-199 under Shildt. With players like Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Jack Flaherty, Tyler O'Neill, Yadier Molina, and Adam Wainwright in the fold for 2022, expectations for the new manager will be high.
Speaking of which, already team president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has hinted that internal candidates will be considered. Here's a quick look at some of those possibilities.
1. Oliver Marmol, 35, served last season as the Cardinals' bench coach under Shildt. He's a former Cardinals draftee and minor leaguer who also served as a hitting coach in the minors. Marmol also boasts managerial experience at the minor league level, as he guided Johnson City and Palm Beach within the Cardinals' system. The Athletic's Katie Woo speculates that Marmol could indeed be a leading candidate.
2. Stubby Clapp, 48, played briefly in the majors with St. Louis, and he's served as the Cardinals' first base coach since the start of the 2019 season. Clapp's extended run of success as manager of Triple-A Memphis makes him a viable candidate to lead a team at the highest level.
3. José Oquendo, 58, spent 10 seasons as a Cardinals player and since then has filled a variety of coaching roles within the organization. Most recently, Oquendo has served as minor league infield coordinator. A part of the organization since 1985, Oquendo would bring experience and strong ties that span decades. The sense that the Cardinals may be inclined to go somewhat "new school" in this hiring may be working against Oquendo.
Others? Here's a wide-ranging list:
Some potential candidates for the #STLCards:— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) October 14, 2021
Internal - Oliver Marmol, Stubby Clapp
Former Players - Skip Schumaker, Matt Holliday, Mark McGwire, Joe McEwing, Eduardo Perez, Mark DeRosa, Joe Esparza
Managers w/ Experience - Bruce Bochy, Brad Ausmus, Jeff Bannister
Skip Schumaker, who's served as the Padres' associate manager for the past two seasons, has Cardinal ties and seems to be receiving some early buzz, at least as external candidates go. Matt Holliday likewise has been bandied about in the early going. He's from a coaching family and has served as a volunteer assistant coach at Oklahoma State under his brother, head coach Josh Holliday. Holliday spent eight seasons with the Cardinals.
Mozeliak on Thursday said he intends to hire a new manager "over the next month," so we could get an answer relatively soon.