On Thursday, the Cardinals' front office made the shocking decision to part ways with manager Mike Shildt coming off a 90-win season that yielded both a playoff berth and a franchise-record win streak. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak cited a 'philosophical difference' in the decision to move on Shildt, who had another year on his contract, but declined to elaborate further.
Shildt was understandably caught off guard by the decision. In his press conference announcing the decision, Mozeliak hinted that Shildt was surprised by the move, and now a source provides Katie Woo of The Athletic with a stronger word for his reaction: "blindsided."
Given Shildt's success at the St. Louis helm, such a reaction is natural enough. Across three full seasons and part of a fourth, Shildt guided the Cardinals to a 252-199 record. That comes to a win percentage of .559, which is the highest figure for a Cardinals manager since Johnny Keane's .560 figure authored in the early 1960s. As well, Shildt guided the Cardinals to playoff berths in each of his three full seasons and was named NL Manager of the Year in 2019, when the team won the NL Central title.
Perhaps we'll learn more about Shildt's reaction when he makes a statement on Monday. Those expecting Shildt to empty both barrels on Mozeliak and the rest of the front office, however, may be disappointed. Presumably Shildt wants to continue working in baseball at the highest level, and that's ample incentive to moderate his comments and stake out the high road.
As for the Cardinals in the wake of this, Mozeliak has indicated he intends to move quickly in finding Shildt's replacement for 2022 and beyond. Don't be surprised if some of these names emerge as serious candidates for the job.