In participation with a United Cardinal Bloggers postseason roundtable, we asked the question, “Who is your No. 1 choice to replace Tony La Russa as Cardinals manager, and why?”
The majority of respondents chose Rays manager Joe Maddon (a lifelong Cardinals fan). He received full support from 11 bloggers and partial support from four others.
Cardinals coach Jose Oquendo and former Phillies and Red Sox manager Terry Francona (whose father, Tito Francona, played for the Cardinals in 1965-66) also got prominent consideration. Oquendo got full support from four bloggers and partial support from one other. Francona got full support from three bloggers and partial support from one other.
One of the most original suggestions was former Cardinals catcher Tony Pena, who has managed the Royals and is a coach with the Yankees.
Here are the responses:
Daniel Solzman: My number 1 overall choice is a tie between The Secret Weapon, for obvious reasons, and Joe Maddon. I think it would be harder to get Maddon as he is signed for another season with Tampa Bay. As for Oquendo, he’s done a lot within the organization and I think he’s due to manage at this level.
Bob Netherton, On The Outside Corner: Joe Maddon would be my number one choice to replace Tony La Russa. He has worked magic in Tampa with a shoestring budget, imagine what he could do with this team and farm system. I like that his teams seem to be a throwback to the pre-steroid era of baseball, emphasizing running and creating scoring opportunities, and solid team defense. Maybe he could even bring George Hendrick back to St. Louis as a coach.
The only challenge is that Maddon is under contract with the Rays through next year.
Ryne Sandberg, bench coach of the Phillies, would be my second choice. He managed a very good Iowa Cubs to within a game of a Pacific Coast League title two years ago, and the team fell apart after his departure. He should have gotten the job with the Cubs, so their loss is fair game for the Cardinals. He always seem to be a smart player with solid baseball fundamentals. That was the way his AAA team played, so I would expect a major league team would play in a similar fashion.
Ted Simmons would be the other rookie that I think the Cardinals should take a look at. He has been the understudy as a bench coach for several different organizations, plus his ties back to St. Louis would make him an instant fan favorite, much in the way that Red Schoendienst took over for Johnny Keane after 1964. Simmons played during the George Kissell era, and I can think of nobody better to bring back the fundamentals to a club that is so lacking in them.
Bill Ivie, I70 Baseball: I would love to see Oquendo get the job based on his body of work with the team already. That being said, I think Terry Francona or Joe Maddon are front runners at this point. This team is not a “learn on the job” type franchise, so they may go with a veteran presence.
Chris Mallonee, Birds On The Bat 82: For several of the reason already mentioned, Joe Maddon. Love what he has done in Tampa and drool about what he could do with the payroll and players STL has coming back.
If we can’t get him I say give Oquendo a chance. He has certainly earned it and the players seem to respect him.
Nick, Pitchers Hit Eighth: Terry Francona. Experience in playoffs and World Series, lack of experience (or potential compensation issues) of other candidates. There simply isn’t another candidate with the resume of Tito available, and I don’t envision the Cardinals as a “cut your teeth here” first-time manager type of job.
J.E. Powell, STL: Fear The Red: When I first heard that La Russa was retiring, my first thought was Terry Francona. He has shown that he can win and he knows how to manage a team. I am not sure a rookie manager would be the best fit right now. I think, at least in the short term, the Cardinals need an experience manager that has “been there” before and wouldn’t be easily out managed in the post season.
Eugene, 85 percent Sports: Maddon and Francona would be great, but I’ve been a fan of handing the job over to Terry Pendleton for a few years. He had ties to the organization, played under Whitey and Bobby Cox, and has been a coach in Cox’s system for years. I like Oquendo too, but I’m worried about the fact that he’s only gotten 1 interview in the last few years (and it was a courtesy interview LaRussa got him) and since the players don’t listen to him on the base paths, what would happen in the clubhouse? Both are probably non-issues, but just things I’ve thought about before.
Diane Schultz, Women Who Love Cardinals Baseball: How about Albert as player/manager? It solves a lot of problems with the money he wants – you can pay him his regular salary and the manager’s salary as well. Albert knows enough about baseball and the players respect him.
My sentimental choice for manager would be Mark Matheny. He may not have much managerial experience, but he was a Cardinals player for many years and he knows the Cardinals system.
Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At The Bat: I discussed this some in my blog this morning (as I imagine many of you have or will be doing), so I’ll limit my discussion to who I want, not necessarily the issues I have with the other candidates. :)
I’m in the Maddon camp, due to his obvious fondness for the organization and his success in Tampa Bay. I think he’d be a great option to shepherd the young guns that are coming up through the minor league ranks. I know it’s more difficult to get him, being that he’s under contract, but I think it might be worth it.
Dathan Brooks, Birds On The Bat 82: I could get behind Maddon, though it seems unlikely it could work out for the 2012 season, and may require a 1-year band-aid to bridge the gap. Maybe that ends up being Pettini or Oquendo or someone internal. Tito has a nice resume, but he doesn’t “feel like a Cardinal” to me…of course, that could just be the fact that I’ve become so accustomed to seeing TLR down there that no one else really “feels like” a Cardinal. I can say for sure that, despite his knowledge, baseball IQ, and history with the club, I can’t support Riggleman as a backfill. The way he left WAS ruined it for me, and I would wake up every morning wondering if this was the day he would decide to abruptly walk out on the team.
Tony Pena is a former Cardinal, and was here for the Cardinals 1987 NL Championship season. His resume is handsome, it includes experience as a ML manager, also including being named 2003 AL Manager of the Year, and his playoff experience isn’t limited to being a player–he’s been the Yankee’s bench coach for a few years. Perhaps one of my favorite reasons to consider him is that he’s a former catcher–ALWAYS a valuable piece of someone’s background, if you ask me. Not saying he’s the man, but from what little I know, he does seem like a decent guy to consider interviewing.
P.S. NO Bobby Valentine!
Mary Clausen, MLBVoice.com: Remember how we called him The Secret Weapon? Well, Oquendo still has that way about him & he would be my first choice for Manager. He’s smart and has a great relationship with the club – you saw what that closeness did for us this year. I also like former Redbird Terry Pendleton. He seems to be reader for managerial responsibilities. He’s got the Redbird connection as well. Maybe we could get him for third base if Oquendo comes aboard to manage.
Tom Knuppel, CardinalsGM: I have flipped and flopped like a fish on this topic. Part of me says that the Cardinals managerial job is not for anyone without major league experience. Another part says to be sure the next manager has Cardinal ties.So I debated between Jose Oquendo and Jim Riggelman. The quitting part of Riggelman doesn’t bother me because he did it for contract/money issues and everyone has to do that they feel is right for themselves. Then the Oquendo part of me kicks in and he has been loyal to the Cardinals and works hard according to everyone who is in contact with me. The question begs, “Why has he not had a major league managers job before now?”Is it strictly Cardinal Red for him?
All that was to get to my answer and with it I hand out a caveat…I would like to see Jose Oquendo named the next manager and as his third base coach he names Ron “Pop” Warner from the Springfield Cardinals.
A.T. Hooks, Cards Diaspora: I’m pretty sure that no one is going Mike Quade, but he’s going to be available soon, right?
I kid. That guy is horrible.
I’ve been to Tampa. The stadium is a dump. The area around the stadium is the equivalent of Ballpark Village, only more dilapidated. This is the best the Rays will ever be, but they can barely turn a profit. After next year, Maddon will be due a big raise and Tampa is going to let him walk.
So why is this any different than a player? Give up a premium draft pick or two and some cash and get the guy that can come in and have another 10 year run at the end of the Redbird dugout. Cardinal fans would embrace him, the Rays would get something for their skip and Maddon would get the chance to actually soak in some national media run in a baseball town.
Am I crazy, or doesn’t this make a ton of sense? Everybody seems to be poo-pooing the Maddon talk because he’s got a year on his contract. Since when the hell do contracts matter in sports?
Get this done, Cardinals.
Tara Wellman, Aaron Miles’ Fastball; Joe Maddon has been my top pick for a post-La Russa Cardinals team since last season’s talk about whether Tony would retire or not. Now that it’s a reality, I still love the prospect of what Maddon could do with the Redbirds. He’s full of energy and passion and I can see Cardinal Nation — and the players — embracing his personality. I don’t know how attached he is to the Rays organization, or what we would have to give up to resolve the contract issue, but it’s worth a shot.
I am also not opposed to giving Oquendo the job, because that whole chemistry factor came up big this year. The players (from the talk I’ve heard) trust him, and that trust is key in any transitional period. As with Maddon, it’s worth a shot.
Malcolm Pierce, The Redbird Menace: Jose Oquendo. Replacing a manager is not like replacing a first baseman. It is not like finding a new ace for the pitching staff or even filling out the back end of a bullpen. You don’t need someone with experience. You don’t need to spend a bunch of money or pour over a bunch of statistics or find a name that will bring the crowds to the turnstiles.
Oquendo knows the players. He knows the coaches.He’s not going to require a multi-million dollar contract and you won’t have to ship any compensation down to Florida to get him in the dugout. On top of all of that, Oquendo is good friends with Albert Pujols. Does that mean anything in the upcoming free agent negotiations? Maybe not. But if it increases the chance Pujols remains with the Cardinals in 2012 even a little bit, that’s more value than most managerial candidates bring to the table.
Kevin Reynolds, Cards ‘N Stuff: Okay…I had to sit on this for a while…
I go Joe Maddon.
Here’s why I don’t want Jose Oquendo: One – and I realize this is not fair – but I find myself concerned about whatever reason(s) that I don’t know about that have kept him from getting a shot at managing a team so far. He’s very respected in the business, and it just seems odd that he still hasn’t even had any momentum past the initial interview for any job in the majors. Two, I just don’t find his personality to be one that will be a universal fit for every faction of the team and/or media, etc. I just don’t find him to be charismatic/motivational/etc. enough. Maybe he’s a victim of his narrow role in that, but it is what it is. Three, I view him in the same way I do defensive coordinators in the nfl (or offensive coordinators) who attempt to become head coaches but fail because they can’t generalize their focus enough. Jose has been the third base coach, infielder’s coach, etc. for years…and I think his first managerial job would be best served in a new environment where his old role won’t be hanging over him. I love Jose…but I just don’t love him as the manager.
I would be okay with Francona, but I don’t prefer him. While I like Francona (a lot), I want someone to take the organization in a somewhat new and fresh direction. It seems to me like Francona’s teams kind of define a personality of their own and he just keeps them pointed in the right direction. While there is tremendous value in that Joe Torre type of manager, I think we all know how Torre worked out here. I think Francona just feels like a big budget, “hand him a team” manager (not that he is…just saying). That is not nor will it ever be St. Louis. We need a manager that can incorporate the roster and be innovative, creative, etc.
To mention one more name…I don’t care what Riggleman’s reasons were for walking away from his team…you don’t do it. Period. How can anyone ever trust him again? Or buy into his messages 100%? What would he say if one of his players did the same thing for the same reason?
So, bottom line…Joe Maddon. I think he is the perfect blend of old school, new school, and creative innovation with more than a dash of personality. Maddon appears to be the guy who could really take us into the next generation/era of baseball in the way that TLR did the last 16 years. Look at this team’s successful managerial history over the last 21+years…Whitey and TLR…two unique managers who enjoyed success in St. Louis by re-defining the game, to an extent. I believe Maddon is that type of manager for the new age. He could be the joining point between the old school baseball theology and the new school “data enhanced” crowd while being independent/innovative/bold enough to take the joining of both and come away with something new/more.
Okay…that’s it. Joe Maddon. I don’t know what it will take to make it happen…but let’s explore it. From the Rays’ perspective, Maddon will likely leave sometime. Right now, he’s an asset – something the execs of that club value and understand the value of moving at the right time. He has implied (and his history implies) that the Cards are a dream job for him – if the Rays denied him access to us (and it may be 10 years before the job opens up again), how bitter would their harmonious relationship become? On the other hand…if Maddon comes to us…what about Francona to the Rays? I know…bad fit for many of the reasons I stated above. But still :)
Jon Doble, Redbird Dugout: I don’t understand the love for Oquendo as the next manager of the Cardinals. He’s done absolutely nothing to convince me that he’s capable of managing a major league ballclub. The extent of his managing experience is being ignored at third base. He was a good player, but I just don’t see it.
My dream choice would be Joe Maddon. He squeezes performance out of the young players that Tampa is always rotating through their roster, but Tampa wouldn’t let him go cheaply. Certainly he’d prefer a team that is capable of keeping it’s talented players and I like how he manages a team.
More realistically, I’d like to see Memphis’ Chris Mallonee get an opportunity. He knows the majority of the players on this roster from their minor league years so he already has a rapport with members of the club. I also think it would allow the Cardinals to maintain some consistency in it’s coaching staff by keeping some of it’s major league staff in place. Something I think would be critical for defending World Champions.
Christine Coleman, Aaron Miles’ Fastball: The Cardinals are not just any team – there’s a tradition of excellence, an expectation of winning that will be even more amplified for 2012. The new manager needs to be someone who understands and appreciates that tradition and expectation and able to handle the mix of veterans and young guys who’ve all learned and excelled under Tony La Russa. Which is why my pick is Joe Maddon. He grew up a Cardinals fan, so he understands the tradition. He has experience in leading teams that have more youngsters than the Cardinals do, but it seems like what he’s accomplished with the Rays would also win the respect of the current Cardinal veterans. And those accomplishments – bring a Rays team to the playoffs this year that was virtually as far back as the Cardinals were, competing with the “big boys” of the AL East and getting them to the postseason three of the past four years plus to the World Series in 2008 – just make him the best choice for me.
The details about the contract for this year can’t be that difficult to keep it from happening.
Ray, STLCardinalBaseball.com: NOT Oquendo (how’d he ever even start to become the choice du jour? Nobody listens to him at third base already) or Francona (the beer in the clubhouse incident shows a man too friendly and too relaxed with players).
I’d be interested in Joe Maddon (and I think he’s interested in us) mostly because of his experience working with younger players. Would such a deal work out? Who knows.
Among available managers, I’d like to see what Chris Maloney (manager for the Memphis Redbirds) could do with the group coming up over the next three or four years. He’s a winning manager who possesses an easy rapport with rookies. If you needed a “name” manager with a pedigree, how about Bob Brenly? He’s tough, hard-nosed, and competitive. He’s been out of the managing game for a while, though.
Even though I’m no fan of TLR, it’s difficult to replace him after such a long time having that one frowning figurehead in the dugout. Like him or not (I don’t), he’s been an iconic presence in St. Louis for 16 years, and his successor will have a lot of work repeating TLR’s successes and repairing TLR’s damages.
Dustin McClure, Welcome To Baseball Heaven: I’d honestly be elated with either Terry Francona or Joe Maddon.
Who knows maybe Maddon’s getting tired of managing in a hole of a stadium having to compete on a small budget against the Sawx and Yanks with hardly any fan support. It’s merely a thought and I could be completely wrong. I believe the Cardinals organization is continuing to move in the direction of putting more and more emphasis on player development and building through the draft and Joe would be a perfect fit as manager. That one year left on his contract could be quite an issue though.
Terry Francona is a proven winner in a tough environment. He managed Boston for 8 years and brought home 2 World Series titles. They hadn’t won a title before that since 1918. Terry TV probably wouldn’t live up to the awesomeness that was Tony TV but I’m not sure anything ever will.
Pip (Matt Philip), Fungoes: My top choice is Joe Maddon. I see a couple of different paths that the Cardinals could take. First, if they do want to consider Maddon (whom I, like others, have advocated in the past) but only after his 2012 contract ends, they could go with an interim manager next season. Granted, nobody likes the unsettled aspect of the interim manager, but it actually affords the flexibility to either pursue Choice A (in this case, Maddon) or to extend the interim manager (not unlike the 1+1 contract for Lance Berkman). The second option is to hire a “permanent” manager, of course. The most popular pick here is Jose Oquendo, but I have yet to see much objective argument for him, other than some anecdotal evidence that “players trust him.” However, this point is hardly clear, since as third-base coach, he regularly had players (Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, et al) distrust his baserunning judgments to the point where he became invisible. It’s hard to see how someone who has such little respect in a relatively small part of the game would somehow be able to command it as manager.
Erika, Cardinal Diamond Diaries: Reading the conversation thread this morning, I knew the question would be best answered by those with broader baseball roots. And you all did not disappoint!
Something tells me the Cardinals just won’t be staying in house for the next manager. With THIS championship team and the history and potential of this ballclub, I would expect nothing but the best of candidates competing for the chance. So, while I obviously can’t offer any better candidates than the ones already mentioned above (you UCB folk sound pretty smart to me!), I will say that I am overjoyed at the opportunity this affords the Cardinals. Change could be a very good thing here to enhance the momentum already in place in this team blessed with plentiful young supporting talent behind a solid core offense. This is sure to be somebody’s dream job and whoever gets to lead the guys in 2012 will be one lucky man.
Miranda Remaklus, Aaron Miles’ Fastball: My number one choice to replace TLR is Joe Maddon.
He grew up a Cardinal fan. He knows and cherishes the traditions of Cardinal baseball just like all of us. He knows how to handle a roster filled with young people and I think he’ll be able to have a good rapport with the veterans. I think he has the right personality for this group. I really hope they make this happen!
Second choice is Terry Francona. He’s going to be seeking an opportunity to redeem himself with how the Red Sox season ended, and what better way to do that than with the Cardinals. If he is offered the job, he really has to be fired up for it. I don’t want a manager coming off the season ending he did, all worn and dejected. I want a guy fired up for the great opportunity that is managing the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals.
Mark Tomasik, RetroSimba: I really like Joe Maddon. He’s a winner and an innovator and he has a lifelong love of the Cardinals and their history and traditions. He’s a modern communicator with players and fans and media.