Cardinals fire manager Mike Shildt due to 'philosophical differences'
ST. LOUIS — In a stunning move less than a week after he guided the team to the postseason for the third consecutive season, the Cardinals have fired manager Mike Shildt.
John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, said the move was made due to "philosophical differences." Mozeliak added that it was a baseball decision, related to the direction he and ownership intended to guide the major league team and not anything beyond the ballpark.
"It just made sense for us to cut ties now," Mozeliak said. "After a successful 2021 season, and it just ended over a week ago, we have determined that we have a philosophical difference in the direction that our major league club is going. We feel like, at this time, that it is best for us to end our partnership with Mike Shildt."
Shildt was notified of the decision on Thursday at the same time others with the organization were commenting on the likely return of the staff. The move "shocked" multiple people in the organization, a source described.
Shildt had one year remaining on his contract.
The team was 252-199 during his tenure.
Mozeliak said they would begin a search for his replacement in the near future, and he acknowledged that the current staff has at least a couple of candidates. Stubby Clapp has been interviewed before for a manager position. Bench coach Oliver Marmol has been championed as a candidate for manager at some point by his peers in the Cardinals' dugout.
"You want to make sure that everyone is on the same page," chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said.
Shildt declined comment at this time.
The timing of the announcement indicates how stunning it is. It is unusual for a National League team to make such a decision and announcement on the same day as an elimination playoff game.
During the press conference that followed the announcement, Mozeliak reiterated what he expressed to the Post-Dispatch a week ago — that he hoped the coaching staff would return. The Cardinals had been in conversations over the past several weeks with coaches who did not yet have contracts for 2022. Mozeliak also, on Thursday, affirmed the team's commitment to hitting coach Jeff Albert.
Shildt, the 50th manager in Cardinals history, took over the team in the middle of the 2018 season, right before the All-Star break. In each of his three full seasons as manager, the team qualified for the postseason. This year, the Cardinals needed a 17-game winning streak to win the National League's second wild-card berth. The winning streak was the longest in club history.
The Cardinals lost 3-1 to the Dodgers on a walk-off home run a week ago at Dodger Stadium in the wild-card game.
"We did not make this decision lightly," Mozeliak said. "We needed go a different direction."