Exit Interview: Mike Matheny

Last year, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season.  This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2013 offseason.  More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office (well, in this case, John Mozeliak’s office) and having a short conference before heading home for the winter.  Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.

This year’s Exit Interview series is brought to you by Bonfyre.  A large number of the United Cardinal Bloggers used Bonfyre all season long and found it a great way to interact and discuss things in a limited audience.  No need to worry about some pseudo-fan crashing your Facebook conversation or trying to explain fine points in 140 characters on Twitter. Invite who you want to the group and get to talking.  Share pictures as well–Bonfyre is a great way to document parties or other events, especially for folks that can’t be there.  Sign up today and give it a try.

Manager: Mike Matheny

Overall grade: B+

Positives: The Cardinals hired Matheny to be a leader of men and on that score, he delivers without question.  As far as we can tell from our outside perspective, there’s no dissension in the clubhouse, players seem to appreciate Matheny and want to play for him, and the results speak for themselves.  If Lance Lynn doesn’t literally throw at second base in Game 5 of the 2012 NLCS, it’s possible we’re talking about back-to-back World Series appearances in Matheny’s first two years.  He seems to be learning the tactical portion of the game as well–there was noticeably less yelling at him on Twitter during games this year.

Negatives: Noticeably less doesn’t mean none, however.  Matheny still tends to pull out the bunt more often than many of us would like.  His biggest drawback, though, is probably tied to his strengths.  His loyalty to the players can help him lead them, but he can also be too loyal.  Often he’d leave a starter in to “work through things” only to see the game get away.  It’s possible he’d still be using Mitchell Boggs as a closer if Mozeliak hadn’t removed him from the roster.  His loyalty also led to Edward Mujica and Shelby Miller taking up space on the postseason roster when neither was really ever going to be used.

Outlook: Matheny seems to be growing as a manager and will do so in St. Louis for the foreseeable future, having just signed that three-year extension.  With these results, I don’t think anyone save some of the deranged commenters at Cards Talk would want anything different.  Matheny does tend to have some good luck–he’s been bailed out of a number of questionable decisions by his players–but as that luck decreases, his tactics should increase, so perhaps it won’t be a steep dropoff.

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